Biden to Name Tanden as Budget Chief, Rouse to Economic Council

(Bloomberg) —

President-elect Joe Biden is turning to longtime Democratic policy staffer Neera Tanden to lead his Office of Management and Budget and Cecilia Rouse to head the Council of Economic Advisers, people familiar with the process said.

Biden will also nominate Adewale Adeyemo, a former senior adviser at BlackRock, to be deputy treasury secretary as part of economic-team nominations he plans to announce Tuesday, the people said. Adeyemo is a Nigerian-born attorney and president of the Obama Foundation.

Brian Deese, another Blackrock executive who served in the Obama administration, probably will be offered the job of National Economic Council director, according to people familiar with the matter.

Combined with other appointments, the economic team Biden is expected to announce Tuesday will include three women, two African Americans and an Indian American as he seeks to create a diverse group of economic advisers and put women and minorities in jobs historically held by White men.

Biden has tapped two economic advisers from his presidential campaign, Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, to be members of the CEA.

Bernstein and Boushey are well liked by progressives. Boushey, who runs the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, has advocated for paid parental leave and raising the minimum wage. Bernstein was Biden’s chief economic adviser in the White House during President Barack Obama’s first term.

Drew Brandewie, an aide to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, signaled that Tanden’s nomination may be dead on arrival in a GOP-led Senate, saying on Twitter that she “stands zero chance of being confirmed.”

Another aide said Republicans in the Senate would block Tanden, who’s viewed as too liberal even though she’s also had squabbles with some on the left.

In addition to ethnic and gender diversity, the choices show Biden turning to experienced Washington hands as he begins building his economic team. He’s selected Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chairwoman, as his nominee for treasury secretary, Bloomberg News reported last week.

He received criticism from Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the most senior Black lawmaker in Congress, who is credited with helping Biden with his state’s primary, a win that sped his progress toward the nomination.

In an interview with Juan Williams for his column in the Hill newspaper, Clyburn indicated that he was disappointed that the president-elect had named just “one Black woman so far” to a senior position – Linda Thomas-Greenfield as United Nations ambassador.

“I want to see where the process leads to, what it produces,” Clyburn added. “But so far it’s not good.”

Tanden, an Indian American who leads the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, worked on the Obama administration’s health-care policy and was a close adviser to Hillary Clinton.

Rouse also worked in the Obama administration as a member of the CEA and is dean of Princeton University’s school of public and international affairs. If confirmed, she would be the first African American to chair the CEA.

Adeyemo would bring international economic experience to the Biden team, complementing Yellen’s more domestic focus over the course of her academic and government career. Adeyemo was deputy chief of staff to Jack Lew when he was treasury secretary and was the first chief of staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Elizabeth Warren.

Biden’s team will inherit a U.S. economy rocked this year by the coronavirus pandemic, and it will try to sustain its revival. There are signs of increasing fragility as virus infection rates increase and states begin to lock down businesses again. That threatens the nascent recovery of the labor market, with jobless claims ticking up and payroll gains forecast to slow further in November.

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