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Biden announces reshaped economic team, naming 2 new top advisers

Biden touts progress on economy
White House economic adviser: "Don't underestimate President Biden's legislative acumen" 08:08

Washington — President Biden has named Lael Brainard as the new director of the National Economic Council (NEC) and is nominating Jared Bernstein as the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), beefing up his economic team after a series of departures and ahead of high-pressure talks over the debt ceiling and government spending.

Brainard, currently vice chair of the Federal Reserve, is replacing top White House economic adviser Brian Deese, who announced his departure from the administration earlier this month. Bernstein is replacing Cecilia Rouse as the president's chief economist. The two councils are responsible for the White House's internal economic analysis and policy development.

Brainard will be only the second woman to head up the NEC, and has served in roles at the Treasury Department, NEC, CEA and Federal Reserve over the course of her career. In a statement announcing the appointment, Mr. Biden said she is "a trusted veteran across our economic institutions, and understands how the economy affects everyday people."

Bernstein is a longtime Biden aide, dating back to his time as vice president, and is a current member of the CEA. The president called him "a brilliant thinker and one of my closest and longest-serving economic advisers."

Lael Brainard, vice chair of the US Federal Reserve, during an event in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.
Lael Brainard, vice chair of the Federal Reserve, during an event in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Bloomberg / Getty Images

The moves come as the White House prepares for a showdown over the nation's borrowing limit, with the U.S. facing a deadline of roughly June to raise or suspend the limit to avoid risking a catastrophic default. Mr. Biden met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago for their first talks since McCarthy took the gavel, but the two sides remain far from a resolution.

The president named several others to key economic positions in his administration on Tuesday. Bharat Ramamurti, currently the deputy director for the NEC, will now serve as an adviser for strategic economic communications, and CEA member Heather Boushey will be the chief economist for the president's "Invest in America Cabinet." The president also named Joelle Gamble, the chief economist at the Department of Labor, as deputy director of the NEC. 

"Along with Bharat, Heather, Joelle and other key members of my White House economic team, Lael and Jared will help bring a seriousness of purpose to the task of building a strong, inclusive, and more resilient economy for the future," Mr. Biden said in his statement. "Over the past two years, my economic strategy has delivered historic results for the American people. This team will be committed to implementing that strategy, while managing the transition of our historic economic recovery to steady and stable growth. They will work tirelessly to ensure every American enjoys a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead, and that our businesses can thrive and outcompete the rest of the world. Let's finish the job."

The changes come as Mr. Biden faces a series of other economic challenges heading into the second half of his term. Government data released Tuesday showed inflation slowing in January, but not as quickly as economists expected. Job growth has also remained strong, easing fears of an impending recession while raising the prospect of continued high interest rates.

Recent CBS News polling shows Americans' views of the nation's economy have improved slightly but remain poor. And there's little consensus across the country about where the economy will go from here. 

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