Biden to name Treasury nominee ‘acceptable to all elements of the party’ around Thanksgiving

First tasks for incoming official will be an economic response to pandemic for states and cities

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 19 November 2020 23:33
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Joe Biden will name his pick for treasury secretary just before or after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Speaking at a press conference in Delaware, the president-elect said that the person he and Kamala Harris have chosen is someone who will be acceptable to “all elements of the Democratic party, progressives and moderates”.

Mr Biden was answering questions from reporters after a briefing about his video conference with the National Governors’ Association when he made the remarks.

Reporting from Politico originally suggested that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren could be tapped to lead the Treasury Department, but subsequent speculation is that she may be considered too progressive for the role by some voters and centrists.

Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard is a frontrunner for the position, three sources familiar with the decision told CBS News.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is also being considered, but some are reportedly questioning her appeal to progressives due to her record of cutting pension benefits to public employees when she was state treasurer. 

One of the first tasks for the incoming treasury secretary will be the economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

An element of this will be delivering relief to cities and states whose budgets have been hollowed out by a shortfall in revenue due to the impact of Covid-19.

In the earlier meeting with governors, both Republicans and Democrats, it was stressed to the president-elect that they cannot wait for help from the federal government.

Mr Biden reiterated that he has no plans for a national shutdown.

"I am not going to shut down the economy, period. I am going to shut down the virus," he said.  "I'll say it again — no national shutdown."

He argues that such a move would be “counter-productive", but that there should be local constraints on the "degree to which businesses should be open" to help stem the spread of the virus.

Ten governors —the NGA’s executive committee — met with Mr Biden and vice president-elect Harris over a video link, five Republicans and five Democrats.

The president-elect said that they “congratulated us heartily on our win”.

Ms Harris said: “Our message to our governors is we will make sure you have the resources and support you need to save lives and get our economy back on track.”

On the transition and how it is holding back planning to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Biden said: “Until the head of GSA says we are the likely winners, we aren’t able to deal with testing, therapeutics, or get information on Operation Warp Speed. But we’ll take information we learned from governors to prepare our Covid response.”

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