Deputy treasury secretary nominee to focus on national security in confirmation hearing

Wally Adeyemo, President Joe Biden’s nominee for deputy treasury secretary, is expected to focus on national security, including taking on China for unfair practices, during his Senate confirmation hearing. 

Adeyemo is set to appear before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday. According to prepared opening remarks obtained by CBS News, Adeyemo will say that containing the coronavirus pandemic is not only necessary for economic prosperity but also critical to advancing national security. He also plans to draw on his experience having served as deputy national security adviser under former President Obama. 

“If confirmed, I have been asked by [Treasury] Secretary Yellen to work on a number of Treasury’s national security priorities,” Adeyemo is expected to say. 

His focus will be on American competitiveness, the U.S. reclaiming credibility as a global leader and using the Treasury Department’s tools to protect citizens from foreign and domestic threats.

“Treasury’s tools must play a role in responding to authoritarian governments that seek to subvert our democratic institutions; combating unfair economic practices in China and elsewhere; and detecting and eliminating terrorist organizations that seek to do us harm,” he will say.

President-Elect Biden Announces Economic Appointees And Nominees For Upcoming Administration
U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury nominee Wally Adeyemo speaks during an event to name President Biden economic team at the Queen Theater on December 1, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Getty Images

On American competitiveness, Adeyemo will call for innovation, targeted investments in industries and technologies and pursuing policies that protect American workers from anti-competitive trade practices. 

“Taking steps to invest at home will put our firms and workers in the best position to compete globally,” he will say. “American companies and workers are the most innovative in the world and have always thrived when allowed to compete on a level playing field.”

Adeyemo will also advocate for working with allies to confront threats to both economic and national security. 

Adeyemo’s confirmation hearing comes as Democrats in Congress are moving forward with a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. During his remarks, Adeyemo will talk about witnessing the devastation caused by the Great Recession on the California neighborhood where he grew up and how COVID-19 is now impacting the area as well. 

“Addressing the challenges faced by people in the Inland Empire, and communities like it all over this country, is in our economic and national security interest,” he will say. “The actions we take today must not only protect these Americans from COVID-19, but should also lay the groundwork for years of economic prosperity and opportunity.”

Adeyemo will be introduced at the hearing by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, for whom he once served as chief of staff, helping to form the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Prior to being nominated to serve as deputy treasury secretary, Adeyemo also served as deputy director of the National Economic Council. 

If confirmed, Adeyemo would become the first African American to serve as deputy treasury secretary.  

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