Joe Biden campaign swearing his economic advisers to secrecy

As the presumptive Democratic nominee, former vice president Joe Biden has been relying on multiple teams of close advisers on key issues for the campaign and the country.

None of those teams appear to be as secretive as his group of economic advisers.

The 2020 presidential hopeful relies on the counsel of a small group of liberal economists and others with ties to the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, according to the New York Times.

The paper reports that the Biden campaign recently formed an economic policy committee which will include more than 100 left-leaning economists and researchers.

Advisers on the committee were sent a three-page document last month, according to The Times, which outlined strict rules to ensure complete silence. Rules include not circulating emails from the committee, referring to “the candidate or to the campaign” in documents or disclosing “the names of others who are involved in the committee to nonmembers.”

While the committee will have a broader range of policy views than the former vice president’s core group of advisers, the secrecy around the panel raises a myriad of questions.

It is not known which advisers have the most sway over the presidential candidate, nor is it known which policy proposals are gaining traction among the team.

The campaign is in the midst of building its overall policy agenda as the country reels in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as protests over police brutality and racial inequity following the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by a white police officer.

Biden’s three closest economic advisers are identified by The Times as Jared Bernstein and Ben Harris, two former chief economists during his tenure as VP, and Heather Boushey, the top economist for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 transition team.

Bernstein and Harris are also members of the economic policy division of the Unity Task Force set up by Biden and his former 2020 rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to combine their platforms and unify the party ahead of the general election.

The paper reports that Biden has widened his closest group of economic advisers to include some more progressive minds, though it does not specify who or if any of those people are part of the Biden and Sanders-led task force.

Team Biden faces an uphill battle on the issue of the economy.

As the coronavirus continued to plague the nation in mid-May, the campaign began having their candidate pivot toward economic talking points, arguing that President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic caused severe economic harm.

Biden also began publicly arguing that he was the better leader to shepherd the economy to a full recovery.

His advisers spoke anonymously to The Hill at the time, saying that the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic gave them an opening to effectively make the case that the economy is in bad hands under the current commander-in-chief.

A Fox News poll released late last month showed that voters trust Biden to do a better job on health care issues by 17 points, and coronavirus by 9 points. Trump, on the other hand, was viewed as more trustworthy by voters to steer the country to economic recovery.

The poll’s findings are not entirely surprising, given where both 2020 candidates have stood on the issues.

Through his economic recovery-focused coronavirus strategy, Trump is betting that financial concerns will overtake health anxieties by late summer, making it more prudent to focus on reopening.

Biden, meanwhile, has argued that the economy won’t bounce back until people feel safe enough to go back to work.

The former vice president had been briefed regularly by those internal and outside advisers for months, but upped the frequency of those briefings when the country was hit with a recession as a result of the pandemic, The Times reports.

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