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Biden unveils economic team, nominating Janet Yellen for treasury secretary

Biden introduces more picks for key roles
Biden introduces more picks for key administration roles 01:51

Washington — President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his economic team on Monday, saying he intends to nominate Janet Yellen, former chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, to lead the Treasury Department. The president-elect also named Cecilia Rouse to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Both the selections of Yellen and Rouse will make history, as Yellen would be the first woman to serve as treasury secretary if she is confirmed by the Senate, and Rouse would be the first woman of color to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. Mr. Biden's transition team formally announced their selections on Monday, as well as Wally Adeyemo to serve as Yellen's deputy at the Treasury Department, and Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey to join Rouse on the Council of Economic Advisers. If confirmed, Adeyemo would be the first Black deputy secretary of the Treasury.

"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," Mr. 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. 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."

Noting the diversity of his selections, the president-elect said his economic team "looks like America and brings seriousness of purpose, the highest degree of competency, and unwavering belief in the promise of America."

Biden names women to key economic and communication roles 02:11

Despite President Trump's false assertions he won the presidential election, Mr. Biden has charged ahead with the presidential transition, announcing top members of his administration and senior White House aides. Last week, the president-elect introduced the nation to several Cabinet nominees and national security and foreign policy appointees, and this week, Mr. Biden is expected to announce members of his economic team. The president-elect plans to nominate Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, to serve as his first White House budget director.

Like with the expected appointments of Yellen and Rouse, several of Mr. Biden's Cabinet picks would  break barriers.

A labor economist who currently serves as professor emerita at the University of California at Berkeley, Yellen was also the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, a position she held from 2014 to 2018. She was confirmed with bipartisan support for that post. Mr. Trump selected Jerome Powell to succeed Yellen as chair of the central bank. She also chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 1999.

Rouse, meanwhile, served on the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration and is the dean of Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs.

Mr. Biden's expected selection of Yellen was lauded by Democrats when it was first reported last week, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren who called the former Fed chair an "outstanding choice" who has "stood up to Wall Street banks." Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he looks forward "to discussing with [Yellen] a variety of issues, especially the requirement for CARES Act temporary emergency lending facilities to shut down by year-end and remain shut down, absent congressional action."

The president-elect and his economic team are set to take office after the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy, with millions of Americans out of work, local and state governments facing a cash crunch, and businesses nationwide struggling to remain afloat. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been engaged for months in negotiations over another coronavirus economic package that would provide much-needed relief to Americans, but have been unable to reach a deal.

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