June 13, 2023

Ahead of Bernstein’s Confirmation Vote, Brown Speaks on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs took to the Senate floor to speak on Dr. Jared Bernstein’s nomination to lead the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). The Senate confirmed Bernstein by a vote of 50-49.

Sen. Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the nomination of Dr. Jared Bernstein to be Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, or CEA. 

Dr. Bernstein is a highly qualified nominee with close to four decades—40 years—of economic experience. He has devoted his career to working on economic policies that ensure growth reaches all Americans—fighting to make our economy fairer. 

Since the beginning of the Biden Administration, he has served as a member of CEA.

Before that, he served in various senior level roles in and outside government, including as Chief Economist and Economic Policy Advisor to then-Vice President Biden, Deputy Chief Economist at the Department of Labor, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and an economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

Dr. Bernstein is widely respected by his peers – from both sides of the aisle. Before his nomination hearing, seven former CEA Chairs who served in Republican administrations wrote to the Committee in support of his nomination. Three of them served under President Trump.

Kevin Hassett, President Trump’s CEA Chair, led that effort. He told the New York Times

“I disagree with Jared about a lot, and Jared and I have been disagreeing about things for 20 years. But he really is a fundamentally good person who tries to figure things out with an open mind, and who changes his mind.”

From President Trump’s economist – “an open mind, and who changes his mind.”

That is precisely the kind of openness to ideas from anyone, of any party or point of view, that we should all want in an economic advisor.

Despite his decades of experience. Despite his impeccable credentials. And despite receiving support from seven former CEA Chairs who served in Republican administrations, my Republican colleagues on the Banking and Housing Committee opted to vote against Dr. Bernstein’s nomination.

The decision to vote against Dr. Bernstein’s nomination is partisanship for the sake of partisanship.

The Banking and Housing Committee has a tradition of members voting for the President’s pick to Chair the Council of Economic Advisers, regardless of political party. In 2017, I voted for Kevin Hassett, President Trump’s nominee to serve as CEA Chair.

In 2021, Pat Toomey, the then-Ranking Member of the Banking and Housing Committee, voted for Cecilia Rouse, President Biden’s CEA nominee.

The Senate confirmed both of them with strong bipartisan support—Dr. Hassett’s nomination by a vote of 81to16 and Dr. Rouse’s nomination 95 to 4.

We have agreed the President is entitled to have his choice of CEA Chair.

I see no reason why that should change today.

If Dr. Bernstein’s peers – who often disagree with him –support him, there is no good reason why the Senate shouldn’t, in bipartisan fashion, vote to confirm his nomination.  There are reasons, but there are no good ones.

I urge my colleagues to support Dr. Bernstein’s nomination to be Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.