Democratic presidential hopefuls Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden shake hands as they arrive onstage for the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season.
Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images
Despite an uncertain economic outlook and a diverse array of advisors on Joe Biden’s economic team, Wall Street speculators and Beltway wonks have nonetheless drummed up a list of policymakers who could play roles in a potential Biden White House.
The cast ranges from progressive favorite Sen. Elizabeth Warren to equitability economist Heather Boushey. Longtime Biden confidant Jared Bernstein is also thought to be a top contender for a role, while others speculate that Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard could be on the short list.
CNBC reached out to several economists and politicians who reportedly are advising the Biden campaign. All declined to offer comment for this story and on their interactions with the campaign.
The economy — along with the coronavirus crisis itself — are likely to be Biden’s top priorities should he defeat President Donald Trump in November. The former vice president holds a lead of approximately 7 percentage points in polling averages and narrowly edges Trump in several swing-state polls.
The U.S. unemployment rate is still over 8%, more than 13 million American workers continue to receive unemployment benefits, and Covid-19 remains far from contained and could rebound this fall as people spend more time indoors.
So whom Biden chooses to lead the White House’s economic policy will likely have more impact than usual for a newly elected president.
“Steven Mnuchin emerged as the key negotiator between House Democrats and the White House, and demonstrated the key role the secretary of Treasury can play,” wrote Tom Block, policy analyst at FundStrat Global Advisors. “If VP Biden wins, getting the economy back on track will undoubtedly be his highest priority.”
Here some of the people considered to be leading candidates for economic roles in a potential Biden administration.
No conversation about Biden’s future Cabinet would be complete without a mention of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose crusader-like devotion to holding Wall Street accountable has made her something of a progressive icon.
Though she was among Biden’s challengers in the Democratic primary, her deep knowledge of the U.S. financial system and bankruptcy law makes her a compelling contender for Treasury secretary. She and Biden now reportedly hold regular phone calls to discuss policy. Biden has touted Warren-endorsed ideas ranging from topics such as personal bankruptcy and expanding Social Security to ending student-loan debt for millions.
But a key force that could potentially doom Warren’s appointment to lead the Treasury is her indisputable value to Democrats as a senator.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivers a campaign speech at East Los Angeles College on March 2, 2020 in Monterey Park, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
Even if Biden wins the White House, the composition of the Senate is far less certain and Democrats may be hard-pressed to