President Biden on Tuesday named Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard to lead the National Economic Council and said he intends to nominate economist Jared Bernstein, a longtime aide, as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Brainard, regarded as a leading progressive economist, had been No. 2 at the Federal Reserve since May 2022 and a Fed governor since 2014. She is “an economic heavyweight at the central bank, known for her meticulous and thorough preparation, and particular expertise on global economics,” says Reuters. “A bane of Wall Street, Brainard has also pushed the Fed to take more actions on requiring banks to account for the risks of climate change and has been the most high-profile supporter of a central bank digital currency, both of which have pitted her against both [Fed Chair Jerome] Powell and other senior colleagues in scope and ambition.”
She will replace Brian Deese, who announced earlier this month that he would be leaving the White House.
If confirmed by the Senate, Bernstein would replace Cecilia Rouse, who is returning to Princeton University after a couple of years as the top White House economist. She was the first Black American to serve in that position.
“Jared is a brilliant thinker and one of my closest and longest-serving economic advisers,” Biden said in a statement. “He is an expert on worker empowerment and a worker-centric economic policy, which has long been the heart of my economic vision.”
As the president reshapes his economic team, he also named Bharat Ramamurti, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, as an adviser for strategic economic communications and Heather Boushey, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, to also serve as chief economist for his “Invest in America” cabinet. Biden also tapped Joelle Gamble, chief economist at the Department of Labor, to be deputy director of the National Economic Council.
The bottom line: Biden’s picks are familiar players in the capital and will likely play key roles as the administration looks to implement the new infrastructure law and other major legislation passed over the last couple of years while also navigating risky budget and debt talks with House Republicans.
Bringing Brainard over from the Fed leaves an important opening at the central bank as officials there look to tame inflation without driving the U.S. economy into a deep downturn. “It likely means a key role remains unfilled for months at an especially tricky time for the central bank,” Reuters adds.