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Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Details: Rouse, dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, will be nominated to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. If confirmed, she would be the first Black woman to lead the organization. She is also the daughter-in-law of the late novelist Toni Morrison.

  • Heather Boushey and Jared Bernstein, Biden's first economic adviser as vice president, also are expected to round out the CEA.
  • Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton, could face a rocky confirmation. Republicans tangled with her over the Affordable Care Act, and some progressives blame her for Bernie Sanders' loss in the 2016 presidential primary.
  • Deese is a former senior adviser to President Obama who worked on the auto industry bailout and Paris climate agreement.

Also in consideration for top jobs are:

  • Results for America's Ben Harris, who's been a chief economic adviser to Biden.
  • Bruce Reed, who ran the Domestic Policy Council under President Bill Clinton and served as one of Biden's vice presidential chiefs of staff.
  • Roger Ferguson, a former Fed vice chair, who announced his retirement as CEO of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association.

Between the lines: Nominating Rouse for a Senate-confirmed post could give Biden more political space to pick some of his longtime associates and avoid confirmation fights, after progressives already signaled they are opposed to candidates like Deese and Reed.

  • The CEA serves as an in-house think tank, providing hard economic data to the president. While Trump demoted the chair from Cabinet rank, Biden plans to restore it.
  • Rouse and Boushey joined former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke in signing a letter in June that argued for a fiscal response covering the expected $16 trillion output gap expected over the next 10 years.

The bottom line: Putting Rouse on a team with Janet Yellen would add academic heft and real-world experience to negotiations with Congress over the size of relief packages.

The cloudy science on school reopening during the pandemic

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

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Why it matters: Trump is the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice for “incitement of insurrection" after a violent pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol, resulting in five deaths.

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Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.

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Texas attorney general sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

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Biden administration unveils 3-pronged plan to combat domestic extremism

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Why it matters: The federal government's approach to domestic extremism has come under scrutiny in the wake of the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. In his inaugural address, Biden repudiated political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism, vowing to defeat them.

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Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

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House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is constitutionally required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had been pushing for the trial to begin in mid-February, arguing that it will force the Senate to delay other important business.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.



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