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Top contenders for Biden’s cabinet draw fire from all sides

Aides the president-elect said Wednesday he plans to announce more members of his economics team next week after choosing Janet L. Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chairperson, as treasury secretary.

Mr Biden could choose Roger W. Ferguson Jr., an economist who was vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and who was seriously considered for the position of Treasurer, to head the National Economic Council or a new board to oversee the recovery after recession.

Choosing Mr. Ferguson, who is black, to lead the board would help Mr. Biden deliver on his promise to make his administration look like the rest of America. Other names being considered for the post are white men, including Bruce Reed, former chief of staff to Mr. Biden, and Austan Goolsbee, an economist who was chairman of Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. Gene Sperling, a veteran economic adviser dating back to the Clinton administration, is another possibility, as is Brian Deese, who was deputy director of the National Economic Council under Mr. Obama.

Mr Reed, a well-known centrist and deficit hawk, was Mr Clinton’s director of domestic policy and helped craft the welfare overhaul that Mr Clinton enacted demanding work and setting standards. deadlines.

He has been criticized by prominent Liberal members of Congress, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who also opposes his plans to head the Office of Management and Budget, which helps the White House determine economic priorities. But blocking Mr Reed, who has traveled with Mr Biden for much of the campaign, from the budget office post can only guarantee he ends up in the West Wing, where the president-elect could make him. a senior advisor.

To lead the Department of Agriculture, Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the most senior black member of Congress, is pushing for Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, an African-American Democrat from Ohio. Mr Clyburn, one of Mr Biden’s first major supporters, said the ministry should focus more on hunger.

But traditionalists keen to keep a voice of rural America in office advocate Heidi Heitkamp, ​​a former senator from North Dakota, or Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa who served as agriculture secretary of Mr. Obama.

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