U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed on Thursday that his top economic adviser, Brian Dees, will be leaving the White House.
Diess has served as director of the National Economic Council since the first day of the Biden administration. He previously served in various roles in the Obama administration, including briefly leading the Office of Management and Budget in an acting capacity.
“When I took office, we faced high unemployment, an economic crisis, and the closure of major streets across the country. I knew we needed to not only put families back to work and businesses to reopen, we needed to rebuild our economy so that no one was left behind ,” Biden wrote in a statement Thursday. “For the past two years, I’ve relied on Brian Deese to help me do just that.”
Biden praised Diess for helping “bring my economic vision to life” and managing “the transition from our historic economic recovery to steady growth.”
The president said Deese’s work was “critical” to passing his economic agenda, including the American rescue plan, his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, and support for domestic semiconductors. CHIPS and the Science Act for Manufacturing and Technology. Increase competition with China.
Biden did not provide a timeline for his departure or say who might succeed him, but some reports have pointed to Fed Vice Chairman Lyle Brainard and Treasury Undersecretary Worley Adeyemo as potential successors.
A White House spokesman told CNBC that Biden is reportedly likely to appoint Brainard to the position, but “no decision has been made” on the role.
The reshuffle comes at a critical time for the Biden administration. Deese’s eventual successor will take on some of the tasks, including how to implement the CHIPS and science bills, the bipartisan infrastructure and inflation-reducing bills, the Democrats’ climate change, tax reform and money in the health care bill. It also comes amid a looming battle with House Republicans over raising the debt ceiling.
When Deese left, the economy had so far avoided the recession many economists expected as the Fed slowed the economy to lower inflation. Unemployment is at a low 3.5%, semiconductor companies are building new factories, and automakers are shifting to ramp up production of electric vehicles.
According to the New York Times, Diess traveled to and from Washington, D.C., from his home in New England, a fact Biden acknowledged in his statement.
“I am grateful to his wife, Kara, and his children, Adeline and Clark, for letting us borrow Bryan,” the president wrote. “I know exactly what it was like to say goodbye to him on a regular long commute to and from Washington, and I know they are happy to welcome him home.”
News of Diess’ departure is the latest high-profile departure from the Biden White House in recent weeks. Biden held a ceremony Wednesday night to thank outgoing White House chief of staff Ron Kline for his service over the past two years and to welcome former White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Ziens to the post.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.