White House likely to tap Brainard, Bernstein as top economic advisors, sources say

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Lael Brainard, vice chair of the US Federal Reserve, prior to taking the oath of office during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Monday, May 23, 2022.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The White House will likely appoint Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard to run the National Economic Council and Jared Bernstein to lead the Council of Economic Advisers, sources familiar with the matter tell CNBC.

Both roles are integral to shaping Biden administration economic policy as the U.S. tries to tame high costs of living across the country. The appointments are expected to be announced after incoming White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients assumes his role, as soon as next week.

Sources stressed to CNBC that the decisions are not final. Politico earlier reported that the appointments were nearly finalized. CNBC reported last week that Brainard was among the top picks.

Brainard has a history of supporting stricter regulation of Wall Street, bucking many proposals to lift rules put in place after the Great Recession. She has expressed interest in how climate change is affecting the financial sector. Biden previously considered her to serve as Treasury secretary or as a replacement for Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Bernstein is a member of the board he is expected to head, the White House Council of Economic Advisers. He has been a longtime Biden ally, serving as his chief economist and economic advisor during the Obama administration. His position will require Senate confirmation.

Halfway through his term as president, Biden has appointed several new people to top roles. The White House is holding a ceremony on Wednesday to thank outgoing White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and welcome Zients to the position.

Zients previously served as the White House Covid-19 response coordinator under Biden and an economic advisor to former President Barack Obama.

Current White House NEC Director Brian Deese is expected to depart imminently, sources said. On a call Tuesday evening to preview Wednesday’s meeting of the White House Competition Council, which Deese has led, officials thanked him for his service in the administration.

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