The president says he wants a government as diverse as America when he enters the White House. Here are some of his Executive Branch picks.
President-elect Joe Biden is set to unveil an all-star economic team Tuesday to tackle a darkening winter outlook as the USA struggles to dig out of the worst recession in a century.
Analysts expect stiff resistance from a split Congress whose Republicans are reluctant to further swell the massive deficit.
At the forefront of Biden’s team is former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, his pick for Treasury secretary. Other appointees include Neera Tanden, a former aide to Hillary Clinton and chief executive of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, to head the Office of Management and Budget. Cecilia Rouse, dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, has been tapped to lead the Council of Economic Advisers.
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Biden deftly chose veteran Washington officials and policymakers left-of-center but not in the “progressive” camp led by Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, says Brian Gardner, chief Washington policy analyst at Stifel.
“They’re some experienced hands at high levels” of government, Gardner says.
In contrast to top economic officials in the Trump administration, Biden’s economic team “doesn’t look very corporate, does it?” says Alan Blinder, a Princeton University economist who served with Yellen on the Fed’s board in the 1990s.
The lineup is likely to push for a more aggressive economic blueprint than the Trump administration sought, including a robust COVID-19 relief package and ambitious proposals to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, build a clean-energy economy and provide tuition-free community college. Biden wants to raise taxes on corporations and individuals earning more than $400,000.
The spending proposals would add to a deficit that has tripled to a record $3.1 trillion this year. Yellen, as well as the other appointees, have said that with borrowing costs are low and households and businesses suffering, now isn’t the time to whittle down the debt.
“In the near-term, there is clearly a need for more fiscal aid to act as a bridge to get us through this period,” says Maya MacGuineas, head of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
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Congress has been deadlocked for months over the relief package. House Democrats approved $2 trillion legislation that would provide more aid to millions of unemployed Americans, struggling small businesses and financially stressed states and cities. Senate Republicans pushed a $500 billion proposal. Two runoff races in Georgia will determine whether Republicans retain control of the Senate.
Even if Democrats win both races – giving the party technical control since Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would hold the deciding vote in a split Senate – Biden faces an uphill climb.
President-elect Joe Biden rolled out Cabinet picks for his national security team Tuesday, saying his choices will “make us proud to be Americans.” Biden also called on the Senate to take up his nominations quickly and “in good faith.” (Nov. 24)
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