Biden announces economic team, confirms Janet Yellen as Treasury pick

For now, it’s an open question if President-elect Joe Biden has interest in testing his presidential power to try to forgive student debt.

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President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team announced on Monday several nominees and appointments for the incoming administration’s top economic posts.

The transition team confirmed CNBC’s earlier report that former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen would be Biden’s official nominee for Treasury secretary. If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would be the first woman to serve in the department’s 231-year history.

As part of the same announcement, Biden nominated Neera Tanden to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. If confirmed, Tanden would be the first woman of color to lead the OMB.

In prepared remarks, Biden said that “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.”

“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,” he added. “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.”

Notably absent from the Biden team’s announcement was clarification on who is to serve as the director of the National Economic Council. The director of the NEC is often considered a sitting president’s top economic advisor.

Multiple outlet have reported that BlackRock executive Brian Deese is the top contender for the role. Larry Kudlow is the current director of President Donald Trump’s NEC.

The transition also tapped Jared Bernstein, who served as Biden’s chief economist during the Obama administration, to serve on the administration’s Council of Economic Advisers. As a longtime Biden advisor and labor economist, Bernstein was widely expected to serve of either the CEA or the National Economic Council.

Heather Boushey, an inequality economist and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, will also serve on the CEA.

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