Here's who Biden has chosen for his heads of labor, commerce, and small business agencies
Joe Bidennamed his nominations for three top economic roles in his administration.
- Biden nominated Rhode Island Gov.
Gina Raimondoas his commerce secretary, Boston mayor Marty Walshhis labor secretary, and former Obama administration official Isabel Guzman his head of the Small Business Administration.
- If confirmed, Walsh would be the first union member to serve as labor secretary in nearly half a century.
President-elect Joe Biden named his nominations for his labor and commerce secretaries and head of small businesses just hours after a joint session of Congress confirmed his win in the presidential election.
He nominated Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo as his commerce secretary, Boston mayor Marty Walsh as his labor secretary, and former Obama administration official Isabel Guzman as his head of the Small Business Administration.
The Senate will need to approve his choices, who would all play significant roles in shaping and implementing his economic policies.
The New York Times reported on the nominations.
Labor secretary - Marty Walsh
Walsh became mayor of Boston in 2013, and is the chairman of Climate Mayors, a group of 470 mayors across the US. Walsh has previously served as a local official in the Laborers' International Union of North America, and led the city's Building and Construction Trades Council for two years.
If confirmed, Walsh would be the first union member to serve as labor secretary in nearly half a century.
In the role, Walsh would head the
Walsh would take on the role at a time when the US is suffering under mass unemployment. The country lost 140,000 jobs in December alone.
As part of the role, he would oversee the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the US's top workplace safety regulator. It has come under fire during the pandemic and led to American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) president Richard Trumka urging for its reform.
An investigation by Reuters showed OSHA failed to protect workers from unsafe practices, including 106 workplaces where employees complained about pandemic safety practices. It also found regulators either never inspected the facility or waited months to do so.
AFL-CIO President Trumka celebrated news of Walsh's nomination, saying he "will be an exceptional labor secretary for the same reason he was an outstanding mayor: he carried the tools."
Commerce secretary - Gina Raimondo
Raimondo has been governor of Rhode Island since 2015 following a career in finance, which included co-founding a venture capital firm. During her time in office, she has cut taxes, took action on climate change, and provided new business loans, but she also came under fire for raising the state's retirement age and reducing benefits for public employees.
As commerce secretary, she would oversee the Commerce Department which has close to 50,000 employees and sets trade policy. The department is responsible for a broad range of projects and policies including technology regulation, weather monitoring, and fishery management.
It also promote US opportunities overseas and has recently played a key role in actions taken against Chinese companies like Huawei.
Biden has vowed to knuckle down on climate change, and business regulations from the Commerce Department could be pivotal to this. The
Biden reportedly considered Raimondo as his pick for transport secretary before selecting Pete Buttigieg.
Head of the Small Business Administration - Isabel Guzman
Guzman, a member of Biden's transition team, was a deputy chief of staff at the Small Business Administration (SBA) during the Obama administration, and has since two decades of experience working as an adviser to banks and consulting firms. She serves as director of California's Office of the Small Business Advocate, and the Biden administration said she is a "key leader" in the state's COVID-19 economic recovery.
The SBA's mission is to "help Americans start, build, and grow businesses," and is responsible for aiding their recovery in times of emergency.
Despite the small budget and staffing of the SBA, it has been more important during the pandemic because of its provision of loans to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which helps businesses keep their workforce employed.
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