WASHINGTON--Rebecca M. Blank--who ran the Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research and was an economics professor at Northwestern--was tapped Tuesday by President Obama to be the Under Secretary for Economics Affairs, Department of Commerce.
Blank served in the Clinton White House as a Member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, from 1997-1999.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2009
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts: William E. Spriggs, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Labor; and Rebecca M. Blank, Under Secretary for Economics Affairs, Department of Commerce.
President Obama said, "It gives me great confidence that these talented individuals have chosen to serve our country in my administration. Their dedication and commitment will make them valued assets to our team, and I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years."
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:
William E. Spriggs, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Labor
Bill Spriggs became professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at Howard University in Washington, DC in December 2005. In fall 2008, he served on the Agency Review Team for the Department of Labor for the transition efforts of President Obama. In the Spring of 2008, with Steven Pitts, Bill co-authored "Beyond the Mountaintop: King's Prescription for Poverty," for the Rosenberg Foundation, to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2008 he served on the United Food and Commercial Workers' Union National Commission on ICE Misconduct and Violations of 4th Amendment Rights, chaired by UFCW president Joe Hansen which included former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack. Starting in July 2006, he also serves as Chair of the Independent Health Care Trust for UAW Retirees of Ford Motor Company, and is on the board of the Retiree Health Administration Corporation which administers the health care trusts for UAW retirees of Ford and General Motors. Beginning in January 2007 he is also a Senior Fellow with the Community Service Society of New York, where he helps with Working for Change, a public policy forum held on Capitol Hill on the problems of young low-income workers and their families. Beginning in August 2008 he is Chair of the UAW Retirees of the Dana Corporation Health and Welfare Trust which administers the health and disability trusts for UAW retirees of the Dana Corporation. He serves as Vice Chair of the Board of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute. Bill held various positions in government service during the Clinton Administration. From 1993 to 1994, he led the staff of the National Commission for Employment Policy. From 1997 to 1998 he worked on the federal response to the Adarand v. Pena decision at the Department of Commerce, crafting the guidelines for the federal Small Disadvantage Business program. He served as a senior economist for the Democratic staff of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress from 1994 to 1997, where, among other things, he worked on the passage of the increase in the minimum wage and to prevent legislative efforts to roll back affirmative action in federal procurement.
Rebecca M. Blank, Under Secretary for Economics Affairs, Department of Commerce
Rebecca M. Blank has been the Robert S. Kerr Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution since July 2008. Prior to coming to Brookings, she was dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and co-director of the National Poverty Center. She served as a Member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, from 1997-1999. She has been Professor of Economics at Northwestern University and Director of the Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research. Dr. Blank's research has focused on the interactions between the macroeconomy, government policy, and the behavior and well-being of American families. Her 1997 book, "It Takes A Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty", won the Richard A. Lester Prize for the Outstanding Book in Labor Economics and Industrial Relations. Her more recent work includes the books "The New World of Welfare" (co-edited with Ron Haskins, 2001, Brookings Press), "Is the Market Moral?" (co-authored with William McGurn, 2003, Brookings Press), "Working and Poor" (co-edited with Sheldon Danziger and Robert Schoeni, 2006, Russell Sage Press) and "Insufficient Funds: Savings, Assets, Credit, and Banking among Low-Income Families" (co-edited with Michael Barr, Russell Sage Press, 2009.) She is a faculty affiliate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Blank has served in a wide variety of advisory and professional roles, and is currently on the Board of Directors of MDRC, the Economic Policy Institute, and the Urban Institute.