Joe Biden, the president-elect of the United States, has called on Susan Rice to lead the White House’s home policy council, an unexpected move that gives the former national security adviser a pivotal role in economic policy .
The decision to appoint Ms Rice as head of the home policy council was the most surprising in a series of cabinet choices Mr Biden unveiled on Thursday.
Mr Biden had considered Ms Rice, who served as US ambassador to the UN and national security adviser under Barack Obama’s administration, as secretary of state, but chose Antony blink, one of its veterans.
While the choice reflects the fact that Mr. Biden has held most national security positions, the White House position does not require Senate confirmation. This will save Ms. Rice – who is unpopular with Republicans – from having to go through a deadly confirmation battle on Capitol Hill.
A Biden Transition Team official said Mr. Rice will oversee the ‘build back better’ platform that Biden described during the campaign, which aims to build a sustainable economic recovery that does more for American workers. The official said Mr Biden believes it is important not to separate foreign, economic and domestic policy into separate and independent spheres.
“Rice knows the government inside and out and is the best person to do this job,” the official said.
Ms Rice, who has a close relationship with Mr Biden, was also seen as her vice-presidential candidate but lost to Kamala harris, a United States Senator from California.
As part of his cabinet’s latest deployment, Biden on Thursday appointed Katherine tai, an expert on international trade and a senior adviser to Congress, to succeed Robert Lighthizer as US trade representative. The choice was well received by professional groups and the AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization.
“The appointment of Katherine Tai marks a radical departure from the failed practices of the past,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “The American labor movement was proud to partner with her in crafting the long-awaited replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, with enforceable labor rights.
In another initiative that highlighted the number of former Obama administration officials who are in demand for key roles in the new Biden administration, Mr. Biden chose Denis McDonough, who served as Mr. Obama’s chief of staff, to lead the veterans department.
Mr Biden also chose his friend Tom Vilsack to serve as secretary of agriculture, a post the former governor of Iowa held during the eight years of the Obama administration. Marcia Fudge, a black MP, has been chosen as secretary of housing and urban development.
The announcements came a day after Mr. Biden was selected Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star army general, to serve as first African-American secretary of defense.
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