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USA | Nov 30, 2020

Biden names picks for top economic advisers, signaling more diverse White House

/ Our Today

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U.S. outgoing Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference after a two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in Washington, U.S. December 13, 2017. Yellen has now been named by President-elect Joe Biden as his choice for secretary of the Treasury. (File Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters)

President-elect Joe Biden named his choices for several top economic positions on Monday, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as nominee for Treasury Secretary and three other women, setting the stage for a more diverse White House.

While Biden’s transition to the presidency on January. 20 appeared to be hitting its stride, he was hobbling after fracturing his foot while playing with his dog on Saturday and will wear a protective boot for several weeks, his doctors said.

The incoming administration has been hampered for weeks by Republican President Donald Trump, who has refused to concede to Biden, a Democrat. Trump has said without providing evidence that the Novembera 3 vote was fraudulent, claims that state and federal election officials have dismissed.

Biden named leading members of an economic team that will have to combat the crushing blows to workers and businesses from the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 266,000 people in the United States in nine months.

Biden campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield has been named White House communications director. (Photo: NBC NEWS)

In contrast to Trump, who largely picked white men for key positions, Biden’s early appointments were shaping up to be highly diverse, including an all-women communications team unveiled on Sunday night. He named campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield as White House communications director and veteran Democratic spokeswoman Jen Psaki as press secretary.

“This team looks like America and brings seriousness of purpose, the highest degree of competency, and unwavering belief in the promise of America,” Biden said in a statement. “They will be ready on day one to get to work for all Americans.”

Yellen, 74, chaired the U.S. central bank from 2014 to 2018 and had served as the chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Biden said he would nominate Wally Adeyemo as Yellen’s deputy. Adeyemo had been a deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama, then was the president of the Obama Foundation, which is overseeing the planning for the Democratic former president’s library.

FIRST WOMAN OF COLOUR TO HEAD OMB

Neera Tanden, chief executive of the Center for American Progress think tank, is to head the Office of Management and Budget. (Photo: Center for American Progress)

And Biden said he would nominate Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Tanden helped the Obama administration create the Affordable Care Act, the sweeping healthcare overhaul popularly known as Obamacare that was one of the former president’s central accomplishments and whose demolition became a central goal for Republicans.

Tanden, chief executive of the progressive Center for American Progress think tank, would be the first woman of colour to lead the OMB if she is confirmed by the Senate.

Biden selected Cecelia Rouse, dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. She was a member of the council under Obama from 2009 to 2011.

Cecelia Rouse, dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, is to chair the Council of Economic Advisers (Photo: spia.princeton.edu)

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were also set to receive their first classified presidential daily briefing on Monday, which the Trump administration had previously refused to provide. The briefing is the first step toward transfer of responsibility for the most sensitive intelligence to a new administration.

Trump, for his part, kept up his unfounded fraud claims in an interview with Fox News on Sunday and with Sunday evening Tweets that the social media service flagged as disputed. Trump, who on Thursday said he would vacate the White House if Biden were formally declared winner by the Electoral College on Dec. 14, appeared to retreat from his combative legal stance, telling Fox that he did not see a path toward making his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While most of Trump’s fellow Republicans have followed his lead and refused to refer to Biden as president-elect, one Republican member of the House of Representatives appeared on Twitter late on Sunday to have lost patience.

In a tweet addressing Trump, Representative Paul Mitchell said: “Please for the sake of our Nation, please drop these arguments without evidence or factual basis. #stopthestupid.”

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