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Biden formally introduces economic team, including Yellen for treasury secretary

If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would be the first woman to lead the Department of the Treasury.
Image: President-Elect Biden Announces Economic Appointees And Nominees For Upcoming Administration
President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event to name his economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.Alex Wong / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday formally introduced his picks for his economic policy team, including Janet Yellen for treasury secretary, calling the group “groundbreaking” and “tested and experienced” and promising that they will help him build an economy “that works for all Americans, not just some.”

The group includes Yellen, who if confirmed would be the first woman to serve as treasury secretary; Neera Tanden, as his choice to lead his Office of Management and Budget; Cecilia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo as deputy treasury secretary; and Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey as members of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Biden has been rolling out his top administration picks, including Tuesday's slate, in the weeks since the election, even as President Donald Trump refuses to concede. Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, alongside the team, as well as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Biden promised they would deliver relief to working Americans.

“I know times are tough, but I want to let you know that help is on the way,” Biden said. He reiterated promises that his economic goals would focus on providing access to affordable health care, child care, sick leave and family leave, and investing in infrastructure and clean energy, and he called on Congress to pass a “robust” Covid-19 relief package.

Biden singled out Yellen as someone who had “spent her career” focusing on “the dignity of work, which is really important to me” and lauded Tanden as a “brilliant policy mind."

Yellen, during her own brief remarks, addressed the American people directly, pledging that the Department of the Treasury, if she is confirmed as its leader, would spend its energy “thinking about you, your jobs, your paychecks, your struggles, your hopes, your dignity and your limitless potential.”

Yellen previously served as chair of the Federal Reserve during the Obama administration. In addition to other roles she held at the Federal Reserve, Yellen also served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton.

  • Earlier in the day, Biden and Harris each separately received the presidential daily briefing, which they began getting Monday.
  • Biden's top choice for director of the National Economic Council is Brian Deese, a former adviser to President Barack Obama. The president-elect is expected to make the announcement later this week, when he will also name his Domestic Policy Council director, two sources familiar with the matter said Monday. Deese was part of the Obama administration team that worked on both environmental issues and the bailout of the auto industry.
  • According to a readout released Monday night, Biden and Harris met virtually with national security and climate policy staff to discuss their wide-ranging agenda, which will include rejoining the Paris Agreement on Biden’s first day in office.
  • Leading GOP senators are still reluctant to publicly accept Biden’s victory and are pointing to Dec. 14, when the Electoral College meets, as the day when they would acknowledge his win. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Monday called Tanden, Biden’s choice for Office of Management and Budget director, “radioactive” and said there should have been “at least some consultation” with Republicans on the decision.
  • Trump and Pence will be hosting a Covid-19 “summit” at the White House on Dec. 8 to bring together attendees from invited organizations including Pfizer, Moderna, FedEx, Walgreens, McKesson, CVS and UPS, among others, a White House official confirmed Tuesday.

Trump, meanwhile, has no public events on his daily White House schedule.

He called into an hourslong meeting Monday that his campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis held with some Arizona Republican state legislators to push a number of unfounded conspiracy theories aimed at undermining the election results in Arizona and other battleground states Trump lost. The president spent the call trashing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, for signing the certification of Biden as the winner of Arizona’s election.

Hallie Jackson contributed.