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Joe Biden: My first-rate economic team will get us through on-going crisis and help us build back better

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U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday introduced his economic team to the nation, saying it will help the nation get through the current crisis and build back better.

“Today, I am pleased to announce key nominations and appointments for critical economic positions in the Administration. A first-rate team that will get us through the on-going economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than before,” Biden said in a 16-minute speech in Wilmington, Delaware.

He said his “tested and experienced” economic team is made up of “groundbreaking Americans who come from different backgrounds, but share my core economic vision.”

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The President-elect said his team understands that “given a fair shot and equal chance, there’s nothing beyond the capacity of the American people.”

“From the most unequal economic and jobs crisis in modern history, we can build a new American economy that works for all Americans. But we need to act now. And we have to work together,” Biden added.

The President-elect on Monday announced key members of his economic team, including Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury; Neera Tanden as Director of the Office of Management and Budget; Adewale ‘Wally’ Adeyemo as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury; Cecilia Rouse as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; and Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey as members of the Council of Economic Advisers.

The nominees and appointees were introduced by Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Read full remarks by President-elect Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware

Good afternoon.

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving even if it was far from tradition and apart from the ones we love.

I know times are tough, but I want you to know that help is on the way.

Last week, I announced nominations and staff for critical foreign policy and national security positions. A first-rate team that will keep us safe and secure.

Today, I am pleased to announce key nominations and appointments for critical economic positions in the Administration. A first-rate team that will get us through the on-going economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than before.

This team is tested and experienced.

It includes groundbreaking Americans who come from different backgrounds, but share my core economic vision. 

That given a fair shot and equal chance, there’s nothing beyond the capacity 
of the American people.

Let’s not forget that the middle class built this country and unions built the middle class.

And from the most unequal economic and jobs crisis in modern history, we can build a new American economy that works for all Americans. But we need to act now. And we have to work together.

In the weeks since winning the election, Vice President-elect Harris and I have convened meetings with labor leaders and CEOs and Mayors and Governors of both parties. 

There is consensus that, as we battle COVID-19, we have to make sure that businesses and workers have the tools, resources, guidance, and health and safety standards to operate safely.  

Our goal is simple: to keep businesses and schools open safely. 

For the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs — or hours — and have had to claim unemployment, we have to deliver them immediate relief.

This includes affordable health care for millions of people who have lost it or are in danger of losing it. 

Child care, sick leave, family leave, so workers don’t have to choose between work and family. 

Relief from rent and student loans.

We need to support small businesses and entrepreneurs that form the backbone of our communities but are teetering on the edge.

There’s an urgent need to fund states and cities, so they can keep frontline workers on the job.  

We must keep vital public services running — law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators — as we did with the Recovery Act in 2009.

Right now, the full Congress should come together and pass a robust package of relief that addresses these urgent needs.

But any package passed in the lame duck session is likely to be — at best — just the start. 

My transition team is already working on what I will put forward for the next Congress 
to address the multiple crises we are facing — especially our economic and COVID crises.  

And the team I’m announcing today will play a critical role in shaping our plan for action — starting on Day One — to move fast and revive the economy.

They will help lay out my Build Back Better plan; a plan that an independent analysis by Moody’s — a well-respected Wall Street firm — projects will create 18.6 million jobs.

It’s based on a simple premise: reward hard work in America — not wealth. 

It’s time we invest in infrastructure, clean energy and climate change, manufacturing, and so much more that will create millions of good paying American jobs.

And it’s time we address the structural inequalities in our economy that the pandemic has laid bare.

Economists call the current recovery “K-shaped.”  

Like the two lines coming out of a K, some people are seeing their prospects soar up while most others are watching their economic well-being drop sharply.

For those at the top, jobs have come back and their wealth is rising. 

For example, luxury home sales are up over 40 percent compared to last year. 

But for those in the middle and the bottom, it’s a downward slide. They’re left figuring out how to pay bills and put food on the table. 

Almost one in every six renters was behind on rent payments as of late October.

Let me be clear, with this team and the others who we will add in the weeks ahead, we will create a recovery for all and get this economy moving again. 

We will create jobs, raise incomes, reduce drug prices, advance racial equity across the economy, and restore the backbone of this country — the middle class.  

Our message to everyone struggling right now is this — help is on the way.

After my Dad lost his job in Scranton, Pennsylvania -and eventually moved the family not far from here in Claymont, Delaware, he’d say, “Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. Respect. Your place in the community. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say that everything will be okay.” 

He also used to say, “Joey, I don’t expect the government to solve my problems. But I expect it to understand my problems.”

This team understands. 

For Secretary of the Treasury, I nominate Janet Yellen. 

No one is better prepared for this crisis.

She will be the first Treasury Secretary who was also Chair of the Federal Reserve, Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, and Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Janet is one of the most important economic thinkers of our time.  

She has spent her career focused on employment and the dignity of work. She understands what a job means to people and their communities.

Respected across party lines and around the world, by Main Street and Wall Street. An educator, a mentor.

Above all — the daughter of a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood who never forgot where she came from.

Her husband, George, is pretty good too. He is a Nobel Prize recipient, but he’s the one who married up.

Janet will be the first woman to hold this office.

We might have to ask Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote a musical about the first Treasury Secretary, Hamilton, to write another musical for the first woman Treasury Secretary, Yellen. 

For Director of the Office and Management and Budget, I nominate Neera Tanden.

I’ve known Neera for a long time. A brilliant policy mind with critical practical experience across government.

She was raised by a single mom on food stamps, an immigrant from India who struggled, worked hard, and did everything she could for her daughter to live out her American dream.

And Neera did just that. 

She understands the struggles that millions of Americans are facing.

And she will be the first woman of color and first South Asian American to lead the OMB.

She will be in charge of laying out my budget that will help us control the virus, deal with the economic crisis, and build back better.

But above all, she believes what I believe — a budget should reflect our values.

For Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, I nominate Wally Adeyemo.

A skilled leader and thinker on issues ranging from macroeconomics to consumer protection, and from national security to international affairs.

I worked with Wally during the Great Recession, and I saw him tackle one big job after another.

Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. Former Chief of Staff to Elizabeth Warren, where he helped create the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau. 

It’s designed to protect consumers and working people from unfair, deceptive, and abusive financial practices.

And now, Wally will be the first African American ever to hold this post, and the highest-ranking African American in Treasury Department history. 

An immigrant from Nigeria, a son of a nurse and an elementary school principal, Wally understands everything we do is for the people.

To understand their struggles, and most of all, their dreams.

For Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisors, I nominate Cecilia “CC” Rouse, one of the most distinguished economists in the country. 

An expert on labor economics, race, poverty, and education.

Dean of Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs. Member of the Council of Economic Advisors to President Obama. Advisor to President Clinton at the National Economic Council.

More than that, she’s a proud daughter. 

Whose mom — a school psychologist — encouraged her to pursue economics.

Whose dad — one of the country’s first African American astrophysicists — who dared her to dream.

If confirmed, CC will be just the fourth woman to lead the Council of Economic Advisors and the first African-American ever to hold the post.  

And as CEA Chair, she will serve as a member of my Cabinet.

As a member of the Council of Economic Advisors, I appoint Jared Bernstein.

A brilliant thinker with a quick wit — and a big heart he got from his mom — an educator — who raised him right.

A social worker turned economist, Jared is one of my closest economic advisors. 

He served as my Chief Economist during my Vice Presidency.

He was there in the foxhole during the Great Recession with the economy on the brink and our country on its back.

I couldn’t think of anyone else who I would want by my side to face the challenges ahead. 

Jared will be one of the leading voices of my Administration on economic policy.

I can always count on him to deliver it straight from the shoulder as his hero FDR said.

One thing I can assure you is working people will always have a voice with Jared on the Council. 

As a member of the Council of Economic Advisors, I appoint Heather Boushey.

She is one of the foremost economists working to make sure we build an economy that works for all Americans.

A daughter of a union family — it’s no wonder she believes so deeply in the idea: leave no one out, leave no one behind.

During the campaign, I relied on her counsel on addressing the structural inequalities in our economy.

I’ll do so again as President because it is a central issue of our time.

To this team — thank you for accepting the call to serve.

To your families — thank you for your sacrifice. We could not do this without you.

And to the American people, this team will always be there for you and your families.

Eleven years ago President Obama and I entered office during the Great Recession and implemented the Recovery Act that saved us from a Great Depression.

We didn’t see the map of America in terms of blue states and red states. We only saw  the United States of America. 

We worked with everyone — for everyone.

And we recovered and rebuilt — together — as one nation.

Vice President-elect Harris and I will do it again with this outstanding team.

They are ready on Day One.

To the United States Senate — I hope these outstanding nominees will receive a prompt hearing, and that we will be able to work across the aisle in good faith and move forward as one country.

Let us begin the work to heal, unite, and rebuild an economy for all Americans.

They deserve and expect nothing less.

Thank you. 

May God bless you. 

May God protect our troops.

I’ll now turn it over to the new team, starting with our next Secretary of the Treasury — Janet Yellen.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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