Biden Adds New Members to His White House Economic Team

Biden Adds New Members to His White House Economic Team

President-elect hires David Kamin, a former Obama administration budget official, and Bharat Ramamurti, a longtime aide to Sen. Elizabeth Warren

President-elect Joe Biden is rounding out his economic team, adding a longtime aide to Sen. Elizabeth Warren and a former Obama administration budget official to his National Economic Council.

Mr. Biden announced on Monday that he was appointing David Kamin, the former Obama official, as deputy director of the NEC, the White House’s economic policy arm. Bharat Ramamurti, the former Warren aide, will be deputy NEC director for financial reform and consumer protection. The president-elect also named Joelle Gamble as special assistant to the president for economic policy. The roles don’t require Senate confirmation.

Other senior staff on the NEC are expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks, transition officials said.

The new appointees will work alongside Brian Deese, Mr. Biden’s incoming NEC director, to flesh out the president-elect’s pledge to rebuild the economy amid a worsening pandemic that has devastated many U.S. businesses and left millions unemployed.

Mr. Biden has said additional congressional stimulus efforts will be necessary during his administration to address the long-term impact of the pandemic, and that he is working with his advisers on a plan to reverse what he has called “the most unequal economic and job crisis in modern history.”

“Today’s appointees have broad viewpoints on how to build a stronger and more inclusive middle class,” Mr. Biden said in a statement on Monday. “With their robust experience and qualifications, they will provide the needed voices to guide my administration in overcoming our nation’s unprecedented economic challenges.”

As he builds his administration, Mr. Biden has sought to balance the policy priorities of progressive and more moderate Democrats. His decision to bring on Mr. Ramamurti, a close ally of his former rival for the presidency, is seen as a win for progressives who are pushing Mr. Biden to hire left-leaning individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and ideas.

Mr. Ramamurti, the managing director of the Roosevelt Institute’s corporate power program, worked as a Senate staffer to Ms. Warren for six years, focusing on economics and banking. During his time working in Ms. Warren’s office, Mr. Ramamurti played a lead internal role in investigating Wells Fargo. He became a top economic policy aide for Ms. Warren’s recent presidential campaign, where he helped develop many of the ideas that she campaigned on and that Mr. Biden shied away from, such as an annual wealth tax.

In April, Mr. Ramamurti was appointed to a congressionally mandated panel that oversees how the Treasury Department manages coronavirus relief funding, including emergency lending programs established jointly with the Federal Reserve. He recently opposed Republican efforts to end those lending programs and limit the Treasury’s ability to revive them next year, arguing the Biden administration should have the same tools to bolster the economy that the Trump administration has had.

Mr. Kamin, a law professor at New York University, was a senior official at the White House Office of Management and Budget at the beginning of the Obama administration. He later served as an economic adviser to Mr. Obama, specializing in tax and budget policy.

Many of Mr. Biden’s campaign ideas for raising taxes on high-income households and corporations could be blocked if Republicans hold control of the Senate. That would shift the focus of the administration to how it could use regulation and enforcement to achieve the same goals, putting Mr. Kamin’s expertise in the spotlight.

Mr. Kamin and fellow NYU professor Lily Batchelder co-wrote a 2019 paper outlining a variety of options for taxing rich people, and their work served as a blueprint for several Democratic presidential candidates. Ms. Batchelder is on the Biden transition team tasked with examining the Treasury Department.

Ms. Gamble, a member of the transition’s economic policy team, previously worked as a principal with the Reimagining Capitalism initiative at eBay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar’s philanthropic investment firm. A transition official called her a “rising star in progressive economic policy-making,” adding that she has been working on Buy American policy and procurement issues for Mr. Biden’s transition team.

The new appointees come several weeks after Mr. Biden announced the most senior members of his economic team. On Dec. 1, the president-elect formally named former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary nominee and Neera Tanden, head of the center-left think tank Center for American Progress, as his pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The former vice president also announced Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton University labor economist, as his choice to be chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, a former senior international economic adviser during the Obama administration, to serve as Ms. Yellen’s top deputy at the Treasury Department. Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, Mr. Biden’s campaign economic advisers, will serve as members of the CEA alongside Ms. Rouse.

—Richard Rubin and Kate Davidson contributed to this article.

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