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The White House will announce the two new heads of its economics team this week as President Biden deploys key personnel following last year’s midterm elections and ahead of the upcoming presidential campaign.
Biden will appoint Lael Brainard, a top Federal Reserve official, to lead the White House economics team as director of the National Economic Council, according to two people familiar with the matter. He will also appoint Jared Bernstein, who serves as a member of the White House Economic Advisory Council and was Biden’s top economic adviser during the Obama administration, to chair that group, according to two people familiar with the decision.
Brainard and Bernstein’s survey comes as the Biden administration prepares for potentially grueling negotiations with Republicans in Congress over the country’s borrowing limit and the economy struggles to contain inflation, with a new report on prices due on Tuesday .
Both Brainard and Bernstein have been front-runners for their respective posts for weeks. The second central bank official, Brainard, will replace Brian Deese, who has served as the White House’s top economic adviser since the beginning of Biden’s tenure. Deese, whose departure was announced earlier this month, is expected to step down this week, two people familiar with the matter said. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters that have not yet been made public.
Brainard has been at the Fed since 2014 and her appointment is expected to be hailed by Liberals, who have supported her hard-line stance on Wall Street and focus on the economic impact of climate change. Brainard is a Harvard-educated economist and taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before holding senior positions in federal economic institutions, including the Fed, NEC, and Treasury Department.
If anything, Bernstein has even deeper ties to the party’s liberal wing, having served for years as a top analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank that is often staunch in defending federal welfare programs. Bernstein, known for his focus on the labor market and support for labor unions, will replace Cecilia Rouse, who has served as chair since the start of the Biden administration but is expected to return to her post at Princeton University soon.
Republicans are likely to link both Brainard and Bernstein to the inflation they have blamed on Biden. Brainard was at the central bank, which kept interest rates low despite signs of an overheating economy, while Bernstein was in government when it approved a $1.9 trillion 2021 stimulus plan that critics say will help the inflation exacerbated.