President-elect Joe Biden has filled out his economics and communications teams, enlisting mostly women, including several of color, in a move that reflected his campaign pledge to create an administration that presents a diverse face to America as it tackles
Biden is expected to nominate Neera Tanden, the chief executive of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, as director of the influential Office of Management and Budget, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the nominations freely. Tanden, whose parents immigrated from India, would be the first woman of color to oversee the agency.
The president-elect will also appoint Princeton University labor economist Cecilia Rouse as chair of the three-member Council of Economic Advisers, with economists Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey serving as the other members. Rouse, who is African American, would be the first woman of color to chair the council, which will play a key role in advising the president on the economy, which has been ailing since the pandemic struck the country, throwing tens of millions out of work. Biden earlier named economist Janet Yellen as his treasury secretary.
Jennifer Psaki, a veteran Democratic spokeswoman, will be Biden’s White House press secretary, one of seven women who will fill the upper ranks of his administration’s communications staff. It is the first time all of the top aides tasked with speaking on behalf of an administration and shaping its message will be female.
Biden’s team will be steered by Kate Bedingfield, a longtime Biden aide who was his campaign communications director and will hold the same title in his White House.
Taken together, the plans show the president-elect’s determination to bring in a more diverse leadership team than what Washington has seen in the past. The decisions also reflect the reality that women powered Biden’s victory via, among other contributions, record activism and political donations.
Biden, 78, has frequently tried to use his political power to break barriers. His selection of Kamala D. Harris as a running mate will make her the first woman to be vice president, as well as the first Black person and first Asian American to hold that title. He has also pledged to name the first Black woman to the Supreme Court if he is able to fill a vacancy.
Biden’s operation decided to announce the women on the communications team as a group to signal that the top administration offices will coordinate closely, said Anita Dunn, a top Biden campaign aide.
“They are a very cohesive group, with great strengths and diverse viewpoints,” Dunn said. “And a very strong team.”