Biden Unveils Picks for Top Members of Economic Team

Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen appears on FOX Business Network last year. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) — President-elect Joe Biden announced his nominations for key members of his economic team Monday, including one name that many Americans will recognize.

“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 Monday morning press release formally announcing the picks that had been already been rumored or leaked to the press.  

At the top of the list is former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, nominated to be Biden’s secretary of the Treasury. The nomination was first reported last week and signaled that Biden will run a centrist, moderate Democratic administration. Yellen would be the first female Treasury boss.

An economist and professor emeritus at the University of California Berkeley, Yellen has a long list of achievements. She is known in part for her harsh words against Wells Fargo following a scandal involving the bank encouraging its employees to set up fake accounts for customers. 

“We cannot tolerate pervasive and persistent misconduct at any bank and the consumers harmed by Wells Fargo expect that robust and comprehensive reforms will be put in place to make certain that the abuses do not occur again,” Yellen, then head of the central bank, said in a February 2018 statement announcing sanctions against Wells Fargo.  

Following reports of Yellen’s nomination last week, another candidate rumored to be in the running for Treasury secretary, Senator Elizabeth Warren, took to Twitter to praise the former Federal Reserve chair as “smart, tough, and principled.” 

“As one of the most successful Fed Chairs ever, she has stood up to Wall Street banks, including holding Wells Fargo accountable for cheating working families,” Warren said.

Yellen has also called for more government spending to help the economy weather the coronavirus crisis, signaling the Biden administration could move to pass another stimulus package.

Among Biden’s other picks is Neera Tanden, a lawyer and president of the Center for American Progress who is set to join the new administration as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. 

Tanden has been involved in Democratic politics dating back to the 1980s. While she heads a left-leaning think tank, her nomination has come under fire from the progressive wing of the party for her past criticisms of proposals like Medicare for All. She said at a 2016 party platform meeting that “the country should have a public option” for health care, but she still spoke out against the idea pushed by Senator Bernie Sanders and others. Notably, Biden is also against Medicare for All.

Other picks announced Monday include Wally Adeyemo, former deputy director of the National Economic Council and chief of staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for deputy secretary of the Treasury, as well as economist Cecilia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. Also advising the incoming president on the economy will be campaign adviser Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, president of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a progressive group.

Yellen, Tanden and Adeyemo must be confirmed by the Senate before they can officially take their posts. Bernstein and Boushey do not have to be approved by senators.

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