It is still an open question whether President-elect Joe Biden is interested in testing his presidential power to try to forgive student debt.
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President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team announced several candidates and appointments for the incoming administration’s senior economic position on Monday.
The transition group reaffirmed CNBC’s earlier report that Janet Yellen, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, would be Biden’s official candidate for secretary of finance. If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will be the first woman to serve in the department’s 231-year history.
As part of the same announcement, Biden Neera Tanden was appointed Director of the Office of Administration and Budget. If confirmed, Tanden would be the first colored woman to lead the OMB.
In his prepared remarks, Biden said, “As we work to curb the virus, this team will provide immediate economic assistance to the American people during the economic crisis and help us rebuild our economy better than ever before.”
“This team is made up of recognized and proven pioneering civil servants who will help the communities most affected by COVID-19 and address the structural inequalities in our economy,” he added. “They will work tirelessly to ensure that all Americans enjoy a fair return on their work and an equal chance of advancing, and that our business can thrive and become more competitive in the rest of the world.”
Janet Yellen, the outgoing President of the Federal Reserve of the United States, will hold a press conference in Washington on December 13, 2017, following a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Commission (FOMC).
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Wally Adeyemo, a macroeconomic and national security adviser, has been appointed Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. He was previously Chief of Staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Office, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Deputy National Security Adviser.
If confirmed, Adeyemo will be the first African-American deputy finance minister.
In particular, the Biden team’s announcement lacked clarification as to who would fill the director of the National Economic Council. The director of the NEC is often regarded as the chief economic adviser to the presiding president.
Several stores have reported that BlackRock CEO Brian Deese is the main contender for the role. Larry Kudlow is the current director of President Donald Trump’s NEC.
Biden’s team has nominated Cecilia Rouse, one of the country’s most prominent economists, as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. If confirmed, the dean of Princeton will be the first African-American and fourth woman to lead the CEA in its 74 years of existence.
The Council of Economic Advisers is usually a small group of experts that offers advisors and possible directions of economic policy to the President in circumstances similar to a think tank. Their advice is generally more academic than government initiatives by the NEC.
The transition also touched on Jared Bernstein, who worked as Biden’s chief economist during Obama’s rule to serve in the CEA.
As a long-term Biden consultant and labor economist, Bernstein was widely expected to serve in either the CEA or the NEC.
Heather Boushey, an inequality economist and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, has also been placed at the service of the CEA.
“The work of my life has focused on ensuring that our family and work are properly valued in our economy,” Boushey wrote on Twitter after the announcement. “I look forward to this perspective as a member of the CEA. We have an opportunity to rethink how we invest in people, and we need to seize this when we rebuild our economy.”