Joe Biden Urges COVID-19 Relief As He Unveils Diverse Economic Team; Quips About Need For Lin-Manuel Miranda Musical About Treasury Nominee Janet Yellen

Joe Biden unveiled members of his economic team, led by Janet Yellen, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, as the Treasury Secretary.

Biden also took the attention over the announcement to call for passage of another COVID-19 relief package, which has been stalled in Congress. CNN, MSNBC and BBC World News all covered the event  live, as did ABC and, on the west coast, NBC. Fox News did not go to the President-elect’s remarks and introduction of his economic team. Instead Harris Faulkner’s Outnumbred Overtime had segments on COVID-19 school closures and Donald Trump’s ongoing refusal to accept the results of the election.

With the coronavirus raging across all parts of the country, Biden ran through a list of those who urgently need relief, including renters unable to make their payments and state and local governments who face budget shortfalls and cutting police officers and firefighters.

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“Right now, the full Congress should come together and pass a robust package for relief to address these urgent needs,” Biden said. “But any package passed in a lame duck session is likely to be just a start.” He said that his transition team is working on a proposal for the next Congress.

The others introduced were Neera Tanden, nominated the lead the Office of Management and Budget; Wally Adeyemo as deputy treasury secretary; and Cecelia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. All of the choices require Senate confirmation, except for two other announcements, Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, who Biden plans to appoint as members of the council.

Yellen would be the first female Treasury secretary if confirmed.

“We might have to ask Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the first musical about the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton, to write another musical about the first woman Secretary of the Treasury, Yellen,” Biden quipped.

Tanden would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian to lead the OMB. But some Republican senators on Capitol Hill already have expressed their misgivings about her selection, as she has been president and CEO of the Center for American Progress. In that position, she has tweeted out sometimes biting criticism of senators who will now decide whether to confirm her.

The size of Biden’s economic package may depend on whether Democrats are able to take control of the Senate. That hinges on the party winning Georgia’s two seats in an election on Jan. 5. If not, Republicans may balk at the cost, reviving concerns of deficit spending that seemed to dissipate during Donald Trump’s administration.

Biden, though, focused on the expertise and background of the new team in boosting economic fortunes of working families and the middle class. “From the most unequal economic and job crisis in modern history, we can build a new American economy that works for all Americans. Not just some. All,” he said.

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