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Director, National Economic Council – no confirmation needed

Brian Deese

by Deedra Abboud in Political
January 14, 2021 0 comments

Brian Deese has been chosen as the director of the National Economic Council by President-elect Joe Biden.

The position: Top adviser to the president on economic policy and related decisions.

Deese was born in Belmont, Massachusetts. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Middlebury College in 2000 and a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 2009.

Deese worked as a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and as a research assistant at the Center for Global Development, hired by founder Nancy Birdsall, according to The New York Times, where he co-authored the book Delivering on Debt Relief. Later he worked as a senior policy analyst for economic policy at the Center for American Progress, under Gene Sperling.

After the Center for American Progress, Deese joined Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as her economic policy director. After Clinton was defeated in the primaries, Deese went to work as an economic advisor to the Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign.

Following the 2008 presidential election, he served as a member of the Economic Policy Working Group for the presidential transition.

At the start of the Obama presidency, Deese was appointed as a special assistant to the president for economic policy, serving in the National Economic Council (NEC).

According to The New York Times, he emerged as “one of the most influential voices” on the auto industry, and specifically the Chrysler and GM bailouts, an “unusual” role for someone who is not a formally trained economist. While at the NEC, Deese frequently voiced a desire to reduce government spending.[10]

In 2011, Deese was named deputy director of the NEC. In this role, he coordinated policy development for the White House on taxes, financial regulation, housing, clean energy, manufacturing, and the automotive industry. According to The New Republic, he was among Washington’s “most powerful, least famous people.”

Deese was named deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget in summer 2013. He briefly served as the acting director in summer 2014, between the departure of Sylvia Mathews Burwell and the appointment of Shaun Donovan.

Following the departure of John Podesta, Deese took over his brief on climate and energy. Unlike Podesta, who served as Counselor to the President, Deese was promoted to the position of Senior Advisor to the President.

In this position, Deese played an influential role in negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015. Along with Katie Beirne Fallon, Deese helped to negotiate the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act, which replaced the budget sequestration and increased federal spending by $80 billion over two years.

In February 2016, the President tapped Deese to oversee the Supreme Court nomination process, which led to the President’s nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court on March 16, 2016.

As Global Head of Sustainable Investing, Deese leads BlackRock‘s Sustainable Investing Team which “is focused on identifying drivers of long-term return associated with environmental, social and governance issues.”

In an interview with The Weather Channel, Deese was asked about BlackRock’s “heavy investments” in the fossil fuel industry. Deese said that BlackRock’s role is to provide clients with “more choices and more options” in investments and “this is not just about excluding entire industries or entire classes of companies, but it’s also about getting to understand, again, which of these companies is better positioned for the transition.” 

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