President-elect Joe Biden announced his economic team on Dec. 1, which will be tasked with leading America’s economic rebound after the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden’s economic team will shoulder the burden of fixing Trump’s coronavirus failures while at the same time helping millions of Americans recover from mass unemployment, widespread hunger, and potential eviction from their homes once a vaccine allows Americans to congregate again.
The hardest part for Biden and his team, however, may be their ambitious goals to fundamentally change the economy to work for medium and low-income levels workers.
Late October 2020, Biden tapped Janet Yellen to be his Treasury Secretary. Yellen’s appointment is seen positively by both progressive Democrats and Republicans. If Yellen is confirmed she would be the first woman to hold the position.
Yellen has the experience to thrive in the position. She previously served as the chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 – 2018 and received positive reviews from progressive Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Trump’s former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
Janet Yellen is an excellent choice for Treasury Secretary. Having had the opportunity to work with then-Chair Yellen, I have no doubt she will be the steady hand we need to promote an economy that works for everyone, especially during these difficult times. Congratulations.
— Gary Cohn (@Gary_D_Cohn) November 23, 2020
Biden’s pick to direct the Office of Management and Budget Neera Tanden has not received the same reception as Yellen. Progressive Democrats and Republicans alike are not happy with the decision.
Progressives aligned with Senator Bernie Sanders consider Tanden, the chief executive for the Center For American Progress and a well-known critic of Sanders, to be dangerous. According to Fox News, last year, Sanders wrote a strong letter to Tanden accusing her of “maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas.”
Additionally, multiple media outlets have reported that in the hours since Biden nominated Tanden, she has deleted more than 1,000 tweets from her account, including many criticizing a bevy of Republicans like Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, Thom Tillis and David Perdue.
Tanden’s chances of being confirmed may be slim, but her career boasts the experience necessary for the position. Tanden’s career has been focused on supporting working families, economic growth, and curbing rampant inequality. If confirmed, Tanden would be the first woman of color and South Asian American to hold the position.
Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, who currently serves as the president of the Obama Foundation, has been nominated by Biden to be the deputy secretary of the Treasury. Adeyemo has held a broad range of posts during his career including international economic advisor, deputy national security advisor, and deputy director of the National Economic Council.
If confirmed Adeyemo would be the first Nigerian-born American to serve as deputy secretary of the Treasury. However, Adeyemo’s confirmation won’t be smooth sailing either. According to the New York Times, Adeyemo gave a speech in 2016 warning about the perils of protectionism, and explaining how a growing Chinese economy was good for the world. Adeyemo also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal he helped negotiate but Democrats widely rejected. Adeyemo will be expected to discuss how he feels about China during his confirmation hearing and his response could lead to not being hired for the post.
Biden’s other appointments are Cecilia Rouse, who he nominated for the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey have both been nominated for the Council of Economic Advisors.
Biden praised the group in a statement on Dec.1, as a group of well respected, “groundbreaking public servants.”
“As we get to work to control the virus, this is the team that will deliver immediate economic relief for the American people during this economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than ever,” Biden said in a statement. “This team is comprised of respected and tested groundbreaking public servants who will help the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and address the structural inequities in our economy.
“This team looks like America and brings seriousness of purpose, the highest degree of competency, and unwavering belief in the promise of America.”