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Thursday, January 28, 2021
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Biden announces economic team, including former Fed chief Janet Yellen

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden formally introduced his top economic policy advisers on Tuesday (December 1) as his administration prepares to take power amid a slowing economic recovery hampered by the resurgent coronavirus pandemic.

Before announcing his economic team, Biden urged lawmakers to pass a coronavirus aid package that has been stalled in Congress for months and promised more action to reactivate the economy after he takes office next month.

Biden said any such package passed by Congress before he takes over on Jan. 20 would be “at best just a start.”

“My transition team is already working on what I’ll put forward in the next Congress to address the multiple crises we’re facing, especially our economic and COVID crises,” Biden said at the event in Wilmington, Delaware.

He was speaking alongside his selections for senior economic roles, including his nominee for U.S. Treasury secretary, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who said the pandemic and economic damage it caused in the United States was “an American tragedy.”

“It’s essential that we move with urgency. Inaction will produce a self-reinforcing downturn, causing yet more devastation,” Yellen said.

Biden’s other nominees include Obama Foundation head Wally Adeyemo as Yellen’s deputy, and Center for American Progress chief executive Neera Tanden as budget director. Cecilia Rouse, a labor economist at Princeton University whose research focuses on education, was named Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), along with council members Heather Boushey, the chief executive of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, known for her research on inequality and economic growth, and longtime adviser Jared Bernstein, who has pushed for policies to help close the employment gap between Black and white workers.

The team’s makeup reinforces Biden’s view that a more aggressive approach to the pandemic is required. The advisers have all expressed support for government stimulus to maximize employment, reduce economic inequality and help women and minorities, who have been disproportionately hurt by the economic downturn.

(Production: Pavithra George)

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