Mar 25, 2023
Rouse to Depart as One of Biden’s Top Economic Aides on March 31
(Bloomberg) -- Cecilia Rouse, one of President Joe Biden’s senior economic advisers, will leave the administration on Friday, marking the latest personnel shift in the White House.
“It’s bittersweet,” Rouse, the first Black American to chair the Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “I look forward to going back to putting my academic hat back on, but I’m leaving behind an amazing administration.”
Rouse will return to the faculty at Princeton University in April, where she previously served as dean of the School of Public and International Affairs. She took public-service leave from academia to accept Biden’s nomination to head the council, providing analysis and research to the White House’s economic policy.
Jared Bernstein, a council member and Biden’s former chief economist as vice president, was announced as Rouse’s replacement in February. Bloomberg News first reported Rouse’s departure plans in November. The White House later confirmed she would leave in the spring without announcing an exact date.
Her departure comes at a time of uncertainty in global markets. The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank this month has led to instability in the banking sector and Credit Suisse Group AG was bought by rival Swiss bank UBS Group AG on Sunday after facing a liquidity crunch. Other banks, including First Republic Bank, are showing vulnerabilities.
“Some of this fragility has to do with the Federal Reserve taking steps to address inflation by increasing interest rates,” said Rouse. “I think we have to take this one day, one week at a time. It does look like it’s stabilizing, but we still have inflation.”
Rouse said the rules put in place under the Dodd-Frank Act have given the government and financial sector “more tools” than the banking crisis of 2008, which prompted a recession.
“There will be an autopsy on this,” Rouse said, echoing Biden’s calls for a review into what led to the failures at SVB and Signature Bank.
In another shift at the White House, Brian Deese left his position as director of the National Economic Council this year and was replaced by Lael Brainard in February, creating an opening at the Federal Reserve. Brainard and Rouse represent the first time two women are leading the White House’s internal economic teams simultaneously.
The Biden administration was Rouse’s third stint at White House after serving on the teams of presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. When asked about the prospect of returning to another administration, Rouse left open the possibility.
“Every time I leave, I say, I’m not coming back, so I think I’m not going to answer that question,” she said, laughing. “I don’t anticipate coming back, but I’ve also learned my lesson.”
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