By Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday credited Brian Deese, his outgoing top White House economic adviser, for helping achieve the administration’s economic vision for the country.
Biden said Deese’s work as director of the National Economic Council (NEC) was critical to ensuring passage of a series of major laws, including the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, that have bolstered the U.S. economy.
“Brian has … helped steer my economic vision into reality, and managed the transition of our historic economic recovery to steady and stable growth,” Biden said.
Deese, who is expected to step down in mid-February, told MSNBC that Biden had not made any decision on his replacement.
Officials familiar with the process told Reuters on Wednesday that no final decision on a replacement was expected before the Democratic president gives his State of the Union speech to Congress next Tuesday.
Biden is focused on that speech and had not made a decision on the top jobs at the NEC or the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), officials said.
Biden aides have considered candidates including Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard for the NEC director’s position, and long-time Biden confidant Jared Bernstein to head the CEA, according to people familiar with the process.
Brainard is a Harvard-educated Democrat who has been at the Fed for nearly a decade and served as Treasury’s top international affairs expert under President Barack Obama.
Biden is making over his top economic team as the Fed continues to hike interest rates but the U.S. labor market remains tight, raising the prospect of an unusual recession without significant job losses.
The next NEC director and CEA chair will help shape the White House’s economic policy, from executive orders to congressional spending bills and raising the debt limit, in the face of a more hostile U.S. House of Representatives, now controlled by Republicans.
Other candidates for the NEC job include Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Reuters reported last week.
Only the CEA job requires Senate confirmation.
Deese plans to return to his wife and two children, who had remained in Maine over the past two years, officials said.