People close to the transition argue that much of Deese’s left-wing criticism is unfair. He is said to have long supported progressive economic policies and has played a critical role in helping the U.S. economy recover from the financial crisis and the Great Recession, which made him naturally fit as Biden tries to steer the economy back from the Covid-19 epidemic.
They cite Deese’s support in the environmental community and note that BlackRock has a role to play in directing investments to sustainable areas of the economy, such as clean energy.
“He has now proven to be an effective champion in transitioning the economy to a cleaner economy,” said John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and adviser to President Barack Obama, before founding the American Progress Group for Progressive Grouping. . “It’s not a question of going to campaign aggressively for the environment.”
Economist Robert Greenstein, founder and president of the Center for Budgetary and Political Priorities, said Deese would be an “excellent choice” for the NEC. “I worked with him on a number of issues under the Obama administration, and I really found him to be one of the most effective people in an effective White House. And I have consistently found him to be on the side of progressives.”
Deese did not respond to a comment. A Biden interim officer declined to comment.
Deese was deputy director of both the Office of Management and Budget and the NEC during the Obama administration. He is currently the global leader in sustainable investment at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager.
His choice would be in line with Biden’s habit of hiring Obama White House officials for senior positions in his own administration. Born fresh from Yale Law School, 31-year-old Deese helped lead the rescue of Obama’s auto industry. He has also worked on environmental issues and other areas important to Biden. Deese Ivy League background also follows the trend with Biden’s best national teams.
Biden can also balance the election of the NEC by electing a more diverse and advanced candidate to head the Council of Economic Advisers.
The CEA is less influential than the NEC and operates from the Eisenhower executive office building next to the White House rather than in the west wing. But it functions as an internal economic forecasting and analysis unit of the administration and plays a significant role in formulating policy ideas. The CEA president is also often the chief spokesperson for White House economic spokespersons.
People close to the transition say the leading candidate for the CEA’s work is African-American economist Cecilia Rouse, who has served on both Obama’s Economic Advisory Council and President Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council and is currently at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Lisa Cook, an African American economist from the state of Michigan who also worked at the CEA under Obama, is also the number one candidate for CEA jobs. Cook served as an external external economic adviser to the Biden campaign. Other candidates include economists Heather Boushey, Jared Bernstein, and Neera Tanden, president of the American Center for Progress.
Boushey and Bernstein both served as senior campaign advisers, and Bernstein served as Chief Economic Adviser to then-Vice President Biden during Obama’s rule. Bernstein is almost certain to play a very senior economic role in the Biden White House, although it is still unclear which job he will take on.
Biden’s transition team is working fast on cabinet and staff announcements to avoid behind-the-scenes jockey and palace intrigues, a person close to the case said. So more announcements are expected next week, including the economic team.
Theodoric Meyer and Victoria Guida contributed to this report.