Washington — Brian Deese, President Biden’s top economic adviser, is leaving the White House, the latest significant departure from the president’s team at the midway point in his term.
The announcement of Deese’s departure comes one day after the departure of White House chief of staff Ron Klain, who has been replaced by former COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients. Deese has served as director of the National Economic Council since Mr. Biden took office, and had been expected to step aside at some point this year. Deese’s last day is expected to be in mid-February, according to a White House official.
In a statement, Mr. Biden called Deese “critical” to the country’s economic recovery coming out the COVID-19 pandemic, and instrumental in the passage of significant legislation, including the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure law.
“When I took office, we faced high unemployment, an economy in crisis, and main streets shuttered across the country,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “I knew we needed to not just get families back to work and businesses re-opened, we needed to rebuild our economy so no one was left behind. For the past two years, I have relied on Brian Deese to help me do just that. Brian has a unique ability to translate complex policy challenges into concrete actions that improve the lives of American people. He has helped steer my economic vision into reality, and managed the transition of our historic economic recovery to steady and stable growth.”
It’s not uncommon for White House officials to leave their posts around the two-year mark into an administration, often for more lucrative jobs in the private sector. It’s not yet clear who will replace Deese or where he will head next.
Deese’s departure comes ahead of Mr. Biden’s State of the Union address, and as he looks to reach a deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on raising the debt limit. The two had their first meeting on Wednesday, which McCarthy described as “good.”
During Deese’s tenure and Mr. Biden’s first two years in office, the pandemic waned, unemployment declined and the economy has grown. But the Biden administration has also received criticism for high inflation that, while receding, continues to squeeze Americans’ budgets.
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