Biden's economic team gets mixed reviews from Senate Republicans

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCornyn, Sinema to introduce bill aimed at addressing border surge Harris to travel to Northern Triangle region in June Biden expected to formally recognize Armenian Genocide: report MORE on Monday announced his choices for key members of his economic team, with Senate Republicans complimenting one of his top picks and bashing another.

Biden said he would nominate former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money: Yellen touts 'whole-of-economy' plan to fight climate change | Senate GOP adopts symbolic earmark ban, digs in on debt limit Overnight Energy: Biden will aim to cut US emissions in half by 2030 | Oil and gas leasing pause on public lands will last at least through June National childcare policy is pro-entrepreneurship and pro-growth MORE to serve as Treasury secretary and Neera TandenNeera TandenFive ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet White House delays release of budget plan MORE, the president of the liberal Center for American Progress think tank, for director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Yellen, who was last confirmed by the Senate in 2014 when Democrats were in the majority, earned positive remarks from some GOP senators on Monday.


Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySenate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage Conservative House members call on Senate to oppose ATF nominee House votes to extend ban on fentanyl-like substances MORE (R-Iowa), who will be Senate Finance Committee chairman next year if Republicans keep their majority, declined to say if Yellen would be confirmed, noting they still need to go through tax documents, but predicted she would “get a favorable view.”

Tanden, meanwhile, had already drawn swift backlash, signaling a rough road ahead for her.

If confirmed, both Yellen and Tanden would play crucial roles in the administration’s efforts to repair the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden also announced he would nominate Cecilia RouseCecilia RouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate Sunday shows - Infrastructure in the spotlight Biden economic adviser: 'It's important we upgrade our definition of infrastructure' MORE, dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, to chair the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), the president’s internal economic analysis team.

The president-elect will tap campaign adviser and former chief economist Jared BernsteinJared BernsteinSummers says inflation indicators 'flashing red alarm' Press: GOP making big mistake on infrastructure Prices jump 0.6 percent in March, highest increase since 2012 MORE and Heather BousheyHeather BousheyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - COVID vaccine developments Pelosi, White House recognize Equal Pay Day OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden returns to Obama-era greenhouse gas calculation | House passes major public lands package | Biden administration won't defend Trump-era relaxation of bird protections MORE, co-founder of the progressive Washington Center for Equitable Growth, as members of the CEA.

Rounding out Monday’s announcements was Wally Adeyemo, Biden’s pick for deputy Treasury secretary.


“As we get to work to control the virus, this is the team that will deliver immediate economic relief for the American people during this economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than ever,” Biden said in a statement.

“This team is comprised of respected and tested groundbreaking public servants who will help the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and address the structural inequities in our economy.”

All six of the nominees announced Monday have extensive experience in areas prioritized by Biden and highlighted by the pandemic-driven recession, the worst since the Great Depression.

Yellen’s expertise in labor market economics could prove crucial to the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce high unemployment and undo massive setbacks for women and minorities in the workforce.

Rouse’s focus on the economics of education comes amid deepening concern about the impact of school closures and telelearning on low-income students.

Bernstein and Boushey have both extensively studied how income and wealth inequality, which has been driven higher by COVID-19, harm the broader economy.

Tanden helped craft the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which Biden has pledged to expand, and Biden will likely tap Adeyemo’s experience in international economics to strengthen economic ties with allies while ramping up pressure on China.

Most of the new members of Biden’s economic team fit the mold of his previously announced choices for his administration: veterans of the Obama administration, some of whom have survived a Senate confirmation process and are well-regarded among different factions of the party.

Yellen chaired the Fed board from 2014 to 2018 after serving as the central bank’s No. 2 policymaker from 2011 to 2014. Her deep government and academic experience make her a safer choice to make it through a narrowly divided Senate that is expected to remain in GOP control.

Rouse was also confirmed when Democrats controlled the Senate — back in 2009 — to be a member of the CEA. Adeyemo served as deputy director of the National Economic Council and deputy national security adviser to President Obama, while Bernstein served as Biden’s chief economist during Biden’s first term as vice president.

Biden’s team would be groundbreaking in its racial and gender diversity.

Yellen would be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department, Adeyemo would be the first Black deputy Treasury secretary, Rouse would be the first Black CEA chair and Tanden would be the first woman of color and South Asian American to lead the OMB.


“They are not only some of America’s most brilliant economic minds, they are also proven leaders who reflect the very best of our country. And they share a fundamental commitment to ending this economic crisis and putting people back to work, while rebuilding our economy in a way that lifts up all Americans,” said Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSenate confirms Gupta nomination in tight vote Earth Day 2021: New directions for US climate policy rhetoric Biden says Chauvin verdict is step forward in fight against racial injustice MORE, the first woman and person of color to be elected vice president.

But getting all members of Biden’s economic team in place could prove challenging.

The nominees announced Monday are subject to Senate confirmation and will need at least 51 votes to be confirmed. The Senate majority for 2021 will be determined on Jan. 5 during two runoff elections in Georgia.

Both Yellen and Rouse have been approved by the Senate for previous roles, which should help make the case for their confirmations this time around. 

Three of the nine Senate Republicans who voted to confirm Yellen as Fed chair in 2014 will be in the Senate next year. Of the remaining two dozen Senate Republicans who have served since 2014, 18 voted against Yellen and six did not cast a vote in her 56-26 confirmation.

Rouse also has not faced a Senate vote since Republicans took control of the chamber in 2015.


The increasingly divisive nature of Senate confirmations means Yellen may see less GOP support than she did in 2014, but her deep credentials and avoidance of overtly partisan activities, along with Monday’s complimentary remarks from Republicans, make her a safer choice than some of Biden’s other picks.

Tanden has already sparked significant criticism from Republicans over her work as a close adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' Cuba readies for life without Castro Chelsea Clinton: Pics of Trump getting vaccinated would help him 'claim credit' MORE and leadership of a prominent think tank that regularly takes aim at Republicans and GOP policies

Drew Brandewie, a spokesman for Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn, Sinema to introduce bill aimed at addressing border surge Bipartisan group of senators holds immigration talks amid border surge House votes to extend ban on fentanyl-like substances MORE (R-Texas), said Tanden’s “endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators’ whose votes she’ll need” gives her “zero chance of being confirmed.”

Tanden also has a strained relationship with the left flank of the Democratic Party after feuds with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Yellen touts 'whole-of-economy' plan to fight climate change | Senate GOP adopts symbolic earmark ban, digs in on debt limit GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House Dems to unveil drug pricing measure ahead of Biden package MORE (I-Vt.) and his supporters during the 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Still, Tanden received endorsements Monday from progressive Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHouse Dems to unveil drug pricing measure ahead of Biden package Ma'Khia Bryant's TikToks go viral as alternative to body cam footage Sherrod Brown: Teenager killed in Columbus police shooting 'should be alive right now' MORE (D-Ohio) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenLawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' World passes 3 million coronavirus deaths Poll: 56 percent say wealth tax is part of solution to inequality MORE (D-Mass.), making a Democratic revolt against her nomination unlikely.

Jordain Carney contributed. Updated at 6:03 p.m.