AP

Biden names Fed vice chair Brainard to head Economic Council

Feb 14, 2023, 8:07 AM | Updated: Feb 15, 2023, 3:09 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday named Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard as the new director of his National Economic Council, making the Ph.D. economist a key point person for coordinating policy, talking with business leaders and negotiating with Congress.

Biden also nominated longtime adviser Jared Bernstein to be chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Brainard and Bernstein would be moving into top spots at a crucial juncture for the U.S. economy. Unemployment is at 3.4%, near a 54-year low, but inflation remains persistently high at 6.4% and has contributed to fears of a coming recession.

Brainard will succeed Brian Deese, who helped handle several key legislative wins for Biden, including coronavirus relief, infrastructure spending and investments in computer chip production. Her resignation from the Fed takes effect Feb. 20.

Brainard, 61, holds a doctoral degree in economics from Harvard University. During the Clinton administration, she worked as a deputy director for the National Economic Council. She was also under secretary for international affairs at Treasury during Barack Obama’s presidency. Brainard joined the Fed in 2014 as a governor and Biden nominated her to become vice chair.

She also forms half of an administration power couple, with her husband, Kurt Campbell, serving on the National Security Council as the administration’s “Asian czar.”

Bernstein, 67, is already a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, where he would succeed current chair Cecilia Rouse, who is returning to Princeton University. With an interest in labor markets and income inequality, Bernstein worked as a vice presidential aide for Biden during Obama’s presidency. He received his doctoral degree in social welfare from Columbia University.

Biden said Brainard “brings an extraordinary depth of domestic and international economic expertise” to the role and hailed Bernstein as a “brilliant thinker and one of my closest and longest-serving economic advisers.”

Bernstein must be confirmed by the Senate. Brainard does not need to be confirmed.

The president also expanded the role of Bharat Ramamurti, a deputy director at the National Economic Council who will become an adviser for strategic economic communications. Heather Boushey, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, will also serve as chief economist to Biden’s recently formed cabinet of advisers focused on investing in America. Joelle Gamble, chief economist at the Labor Department, will become a deputy director of the National Economic Council.

Brainard’s departure from the Fed comes at a fraught time, as the central bank seeks to balance its fight against inflation without going so far as to cause a worse recession than necessary. Brainard has been a leading “dovish” voice, meaning she typically supports lower interest rates to bolster employment. (“Hawks” are more likely to push for higher rates to combat inflation).

She has worked closely with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, and comments from her speeches often find their way into subsequent formal statements by the Fed.

In a speech last month, Brainard argued that taming inflation might not require the job market “pain,” in the form of widespread layoffs, that other Fed officials, including Powell, have warned about. Instead, she said that companies may be forced to reduce prices and cut their profit margins as consumer demand slows, which would help bring down inflation.

However, Biden has appointed three other members of the Fed’s governing board, so Brainard’s departure will not deprive the central bank of dovish voices.

Brainard has also supported tougher financial regulations than Powell. When Randal Quarles was the Fed’s top financial regulator — appointed by President Donald Trump — Brainard cast about 20 dissenting votes on regulatory issues.

She has also expressed support for the idea that the Fed could do more to push banks to consider the risks posed by climate change to their financial health. Climate activists warn that increased damage to homes, commercial buildings, and other property will impose greater financial losses on banks and should be considered when evaluating their safety and soundness.

Under Powell, who is not a trained economist, the Fed vice chair has typically been someone with a deep background in monetary economics, such as Richard Clarida, Brainard’s predecessor. Clarida was an economics professor at Columbia University and an adviser to PIMCO, a bond trading firm.

Bloomberg News first reported Monday that Brainard and Bernstein were set to become Biden’s top economic aides.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

3 hours ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

1 day ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

4 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

7 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

18 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Biden names Fed vice chair Brainard to head Economic Council