Brian Deese, Biden’s top economic adviser, to resign

The White House on Thursday announced the departure of Brian Deese, who served as director of the National Economic Council and helped execute President Joe Biden’s economic policies in his first two years in office.

In a statement announcing Deese’s departure, the president praised Deese for his efforts to “rebuild the economy” amid the Covid pandemic.

“For the past two years, I’ve relied on Brian Deese to help me do just that. Brian has a unique ability to translate complex policy challenges into concrete actions that improve the lives of the American people,” the president said. “He helped turn my economic vision into reality and managed the transition of our historic economic recovery to a constant and stable growth”.

Biden noted that Deese played a key role in passing sweeping economic legislation he signed into law, including pandemic relief, infrastructure, computer chip manufacturing and taxes, climate and health care bills.

Deese’s replacement has not been announced and it is unclear when his resignation will take effect. His departure comes as the Speaker and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy clash over the debt ceiling.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle on Thursday, Deese said the economic recovery from the pandemic has “defied many projections and many odds.”

“We have a stronger, more resilient labor market and stronger, more resilient consumers and businesses in the United States,” Deese said.

He also reiterated earlier calls for Congress to raise the debt limit before the Treasury Department runs out of extraordinary measures, warning that even the threat of a default could “cause widespread financial panic, stock market crash, real economic calamity”.

“It’s a really bleak picture and one we don’t even need to get close to,” he added. “Every Congress in history has done its duty and obligation to do so. We could take that kind of uncertainty off the table.”

Deese’s appointment to his White House post did not require Senate confirmation. In a December 2020 statement appointing Deese as economic adviser, Biden said he was “a trusted voice I can count on to help us end the ongoing economic crisis, build a better economy that includes everyone, and address the existential threat of climate change in a way that creates high-paying American jobs.

Prior to working in the Biden White House, Deese was head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager.

During the Obama administration, Deese served as deputy director of the National Economic Council, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, and senior advisor to President Barack Obama. He entered the White House after working on the 2008 Obama campaign.

Deese also served as a senior adviser to Obama on climate change and energy issues. He played a key role in the 2015 Paris Agreement, a landmark deal on climate change that included 190 countries pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement in 2017 during his tenure. Within hours of being sworn in on the Capitol steps in 2021, Biden reversed Trump’s decision by signing an executive order for the United States to rejoin the climate deal.

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