Politics

Joe Biden reveals key members of his economic team, led by Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury

PHOTO CREDITS: THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Joe Biden has revealed the key members of his economic team, led by Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury.

Janet Yellen will be joined by Neera Tanden as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Wally Adeyemo as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Cecilia Rouse as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey as members of the Council of Economic Advisers. “This is the team that will provide immediate economic aid to the American people during this economic crisis and will help us rebuild our economy better than ever,” Biden said, stressing that his team will be made up of “respected and proven public servants “who will help the communities most affected by Covid-19 and address structural inequalities in the economy. This team resembles the United States and brings seriousness of purpose, the highest degree of competence, and an unwavering belief in the promise of the United States,” he said (NY Post).

In this way, Biden has confirmed the speculations that, since last week, pointed to Janet Yellen as head of the US Treasury. The former president of the US Federal Reserve will thus once again be a pioneer, if her nomination is confirmed, by becoming the first woman to hold this position in 231 years, which will once again make her the most powerful woman in the world economy. Yellen, 74, held the presidency of the Fed between 2014 and 2018, a position for which she was nominated by Barack Obama after the departure of Ben Bernanke.

Janet Yellen has a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and, in addition to her work as a central banker, has extensive academic experience at the University of California (Berkeley). She also chaired the Council of Economic Advisers of former US President Bill Clinton for two years. In addition to Yellen, Joe Biden’s financial team will also feature Neera Tanden as the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). If confirmed, Tanden would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian-American person to lead the WBO.

On her side, the current president of the Obama Foundation, Wally Adeyemo, has been nominated as deputy secretary of the Treasury. During the Obama-Biden Administration, Adeyemo served as the President’s Senior International Economic Adviser and held a wide range of positions, including Deputy National Security Adviser, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, the First Chief of Staff of the Office of Financial Protection of the Consumer, and Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff in the Treasury Department. Cecilia Rouse, meanwhile, is the dean of the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. If confirmed, she will become the first African American and only the fourth woman to lead the Council of Economic Advisers (CAE) in its 74 years of existence.

In addition, economists Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey will become members of the Council of Economic Advisers. “President-elect Biden and I have said that our top priorities as we enter the White House are to control this virus and open our economy responsibly. The excellent economic team that President-elect Biden is assembling will help us deliver on our commitment,” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said (The Sun).*

Biden and Harris have also recently chosen an all-female White House senior communications team, led by Jen Psaki as press secretary and Kate Bedingfield as communications director. Psaki currently oversees communications for the presidential transition, and she previously served as White House communications director under President Barack Obama, and as State Department spokesperson under then-Secretary of State John Kerry. Bedingfield served as deputy campaign manager and communications director for the Biden-Harris campaign, and previously was communications director for Biden when he was vice president. She previously was chief spokeswoman and vice president of corporate communications for the MPAA, and was vice president of communications at Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

Also named to top communications roles were Elizabeth E. Alexander, who will serve as communications director for First Lady Jill Biden. Alexander served as senior adviser on the Biden-Harris campaign and was press secretary to Biden when he was Vice President. Ashley Etienne will serve as communications director for Harris, after serving as senior adviser to the campaign and as communications director and senior adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Karine Jean-Pierre will serve as principal deputy press secretary, after serving as senior adviser during the campaign and as chief of staff to Harris, as well as chief public affairs officer for MoveOn.org and an NBC and MSNBC political analyst. Symone Sanders, who was a senior adviser to the campaign, will serve as senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Harris. She also was a CNN political commentator. Pili Tobar will be deputy White House communications director, having served as communications director for coalitions on the campaign (Deadline).

Biden’s appointed Press Secretary Jen Psaki is facing fresh scrutiny over a photo that shows her wearing a Russian hat that bears the communist hammer-and-sickle logo. Psaki, who served in former President Obama’s State Department, was gifted the pink shapka, or fur hat, by her counterpart, spokesperson Maria Zakharova, in Russia. A photo from 2014 shows Psaki wearing the hat while posing with then-Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been appointed to serve as Biden’s “climate czar,” and Zakharova. Also standing next to Psaki is Russian ambassador Sergey Lavrov, who caught attention for an Oval Office meeting in 2017 where President Trump controversially shared U.S. intelligence with him.

Though it remains uncertain specifically why Psaki was wearing the hat for the picture, the hammer and sickle has come to represent communist movements around the world. It also was a feature of the flag for the former Soviet Union, which spawned from Russia’s communist revolution and engaged in decades of brinkmanship in a “cold war” with the U.S.

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

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