WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday that he has decided whom he will nominate for Treasury secretary, and that he will make the announcement in the coming weeks.
“You’ll soon hear my choice for Treasury, either just before or just after Thanksgiving,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.
“It’s someone who will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party, from the progressive to the moderate coalitions,” he added.
Going into Thursday, Biden’s team had signalled to allies in the business community that he had whittled down his list of options for Treasury secretary to at least three names, according to people briefed on the matter.
The top contenders are economist Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; Roger Ferguson, the CEO of TIAA; and Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve.
Yellen appears to have approval from both sides of the party. Ferguson, who announced he intends to retire from TIAA in March, wants to return to the federal government. He has experience as vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.
Either Brainard or Yellen would be the first female Treasury secretary. Ferguson would be the first Black person to hold the office.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a progressive who had been mentioned as a possible Treasury contender, appears to be out of the running.
Biden also appeared to give a positive appraisal of current Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s performance.
“The way the federal reserve has been approaching dealing with the dollar, I think has been in a positive direction,” said Biden.
“Interest rates are as low as they have been in modern history, and I think that is a positive thing. It lends credence to the possibility of us being able to expend money, to deficit spend, in order for us to be able to generate economic growth right off the bat. And so I think it’s been positive so far.”
Powell’s four-year term as Fed chair expires in February of 2022, a year into Biden’s first term. Biden could choose to renominate him for the position.