WASHINGTON (Reuters) – United States President-elect Joe Biden has brought in experts in finance, trade and banking regulation for his transition team, which ranged from leading Democrats to progressive activists, reflecting the ongoing debate within the party on how to solve economic problems, from wealth inequality to currency climate.
Biden’s “agency transition teams,” named in a statement here Tuesday afternoon, are tasked with liaising with the outgoing Donald Trump administration for a smooth transition.
The names on the list won’t necessarily join the new administration, although some may. They “reflect the values and priorities of the incoming administration,” the statement said.
ECONOMY, TREASURE, FEDERAL RESERVE
Economic experts, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department include familiar names from the Democrat deep bench of former administration officials Barack Obama with emerging voices who have argued that the US government should do more to reduce inequality.
Mehrsa Baradaran, for example, who works in the Treasury team, argued that the Fed should take a more aggressive role in establishing bank accounts for each family to ensure access to the financial system.
The list reflects the influence of unions and the possible use of the federal stock exchange to stimulate economic growth through targeted investments.
Simon Johnson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also a member of the Treasury team, for example, argued that a central problem in the United States is the lack of public investment in basic research and suggested funding institutions research in medium-sized cities.
Another pick of the Treasury team, Nancy Lee, has written extensively on sustainable development finance and the role of private finance.
KeyBank NA executive Don Graves, called to work on a broader review of economic agencies, is one of the few bankers on the list. Prior to joining KeyBank in 2017, where he led corporate responsibility and community relations, Graves worked in the Obama administration as director of domestic and economic policy for Biden.
Experts recruited for the US Trade Representative’s office show strong union interests, including AFL-CIO campaign leaders Julie Greene and former AFL-CIO trade chief Celeste Drake.
Drake, now at the Directors Guild, advised the USTR on Trump’s renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Team leader Jason Miller, former deputy director of the White House Economic Council under Obama, worked on efforts to boost jobs in the US manufacturing sector.
The list includes Riley Ohlson, head of federal affairs at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a national industry group led by the United Steelworkers, and Todd Tucker, an academic from the Roosevelt Institute.
Notable advisers to the banking and markets regulatory team include its head, Gary Gensler, who chaired the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 2009 to 2014 and oversaw the implementation of key reforms following the financial crisis in 2009; and Andy Green, director general of economic policy at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
Green is a well-respected regulatory expert who previously served as counsel for Kara Stein, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission commissioner who was highly regarded by progressives.
Also on the list: Amanda Fischer, policy director of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth think tank, who was previously an assistant to US progressive representative Katie Porter and Dennis Kelleher, CEO of the progressive think tank Better Markets and outspoken critic of attempts to Trump to relax banking regulations.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Michelle Price in Washington; Additional reporting by Howard Schneider and David Lawder in Washington; Written by Heather Timmons; Editing by Matthew Lewis