Senate confirms Rouse as Biden's top economist

Senate confirms Rouse as Biden's top economist
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The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to confirm Cecilia RouseCecilia RouseBlack Caucus pushes for priorities in final deal On The Money: Inflation spike puts Biden on defensive | Senate Democrats hit spending speed bumps | Larry Summers huddles with WH team Larry Summers, White House officials meet to discuss Biden agenda MORE as President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE’s top White House economist.

Senators voted 95-4 in favor of Rouse’s nomination to chair the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). GOP Sens. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonConservatives target Biden pick for New York district court GOP anger with Fauci rises Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' MORE (Ark.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP anger with Fauci rises Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' MORE (Ky.), Tommy Tuberville (Ala.) and Rick Scott (Fla.) voted against her.

Rouse most recently served as dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and was a member of former President Obama’s CEA. She received wide bipartisan praise throughout her nomination process and was unanimously recommended for confirmation by the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 4.

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“When she came before the Banking and Housing Committee, Dr. Rouse’s knowledge of our economy and her passion for service, and her commitment to the people who make this country work ,were obvious to all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike,” said Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownPowell says Fed will consider faster taper amid surging inflation Biden faces new pressure from climate groups after Powell pick Five Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee MORE (D-Ohio), the panel’s chairman, on the Senate floor Tuesday.

“Her expertise and leadership will guide this administration and Congress, as we get to work not only to recover from this pandemic, but to build a better economy for the future," he added.

Rouse will become the first Black CEA chair and the fourth woman to lead the council since it was created in 1946. She will also be a member of Biden’s Cabinet after the president elevated the position to his group of top advisers.

Rouse takes the helm of the CEA at a time of both deep pain and hope for the U.S. economy roughly a year into the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. has yet to recover 10 million of the jobs lost to the onset of the pandemic, and millions of households are facing homelessness and food insecurity nearly a year after COVID-19 derailed the economy.

Biden and congressional Democrats are racing to pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief bill to extend expanded unemployment benefits, send another round of stimulus checks and provide more aid to small businesses and local governments by mid-March. The Federal Reserve has also ruled out pulling back support for the economy until it sees evidence of a strong rebound.

While the economy remains severely damaged, economists are optimistic that the U.S. will enjoy a rebound once enough of the population is vaccinated to contain COVID-19.

Biden said Tuesday that the U.S. is on track to secure enough COVID-19 vaccine to cover the entire adult population by the end of May, two months earlier than he had previously projected.

“My hope is by this time next year we are going to be back to normal, or before that,” Biden said.

Updated at 8:24 p.m.