Top Biden Aides Plan to Quit as Economy Takes 2024 Election

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden’s top economic adviser, Brian Deese, is expected to leave the White House next year, part of a broader reshuffle that will allow Biden to turn his coterie of aides on a core issue. which is expected. reelection bid.

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Deese is expected to depart as director of the National Economic Council sometime next year, likely in the spring or summer, according to people familiar with his plans. Another high-profile adviser, Cecilia Rouse, the first African-American to chair the Council of Economic Advisers, is also expected to leave in early 2023 to return to Princeton University.

A senior White House official said there is no timeline for Deese’s departure, and the president and his colleagues want him to stay. Another White House official said Rouse will return to Princeton at the end of her two-year public service leave, likely in the spring.

Administrative aides are discussing Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo moving to the West Wing to lead the NEC, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. Adeyemo previously served as deputy director of the NEC under Obama, where he coordinated policy on trade, investment, energy, international finance and environmental issues.

Gene Sperling, the White House coordinator for Biden’s pandemic relief measure and a senior adviser to the president, is also expected to raise his hand for Deese’s job, according to people familiar with the matter. Sperling previously chaired the NEC under Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

The potential Deese-Rouse proceedings will come at a critical time for the White House, as the president and his staff continue to try to contain inflation and prevent a recession that many economists believe is a near certainty. Biden will also have to contend with congressional Republicans, who control the House and have threatened fights over the US debt ceiling and entitlement spending.

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Deese and Sperling, through a White House spokesman, declined to comment. Adeyemo, through a Treasury Department spokesman, also declined to comment.

One White House official dismissed talk of personnel changes as rumors, noting there is no timeline for Deese’s departure.

Biden’s most prominent economic adviser, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, is expected to stay in her current role longer than Deese and Rouse, according to a person familiar with the matter, who predicted she won’t leave until it accelerates the re-election campaign.

Biden won the stronger-than-expected Democratic showing in the midterms despite voters’ concerns about inflation and the economy. But attention is already shifting to 2024, with former President Donald Trump jumping into the race on Tuesday, and Republicans focusing on Biden’s stewardship of the economy.

Shake-Up Team

Biden tapped Deese from BlackRock Inc., where he oversaw the financial giant’s sustainable investment strategies. Deese was previously Obama’s senior adviser on climate and energy issues and also deputy director of the NEC.

Rouse, who was confirmed by the Senate on March 2, 2021, is returning to Princeton, where she was a professor of economics and public affairs and former dean of Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs.

The other two members of the Council of Economic Advisers are Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, both of whom have advised Biden on his 2020 presidential campaign.

The White House is looking at economists from academic institutions as well as internal candidates like Bernstein to replace Rouse, according to the people briefed on the search.

Bernstein declined to comment on Rouse’s departure or whether he wanted the top job during an event hosted by Axios on Wednesday.

2024 in View

It is not unusual for senior White House staff to consider leaving their jobs after an election, worn out by tough schedules, travel or resetting the policy agenda. And Biden suffered far less turnover among his top aides than his predecessor, Donald Trump. But White House officials are preparing for an exit now that the midterms are over.

Biden’s economic team will face a new political reality in 2023.

With Democrats controlling both chambers, Biden in his first two years in office was able to pass sweeping economic measures such as the Inflation Reduction Act — the Democrats’ climate, tax and health package — as well as infrastructure spending and the Chips and Science. to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

But with a divided Congress, the administration is expected to focus more on implementing those laws while advancing additional policies through executive actions or regulations. House Republicans are unlikely to work with Biden on any significant new legislation, and the two sides are likely to have trouble agreeing even on basic government spending bills.

The White House must also grapple with the prospect of a crisis over raising the debt ceiling, which Republicans have warned they aim to use as leverage to impose spending cuts on entitlement programs. Biden has said he “will not give in” to GOP demands on the debt limit, which could trigger the nation’s first-ever default — an event many economists believe would have serious consequences.

–With assistance from Jennifer Jacobs.

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