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Treasury Creates Racial Equity Committee to Narrow Economic Disparities

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is deepening its effort to concentrate on reducing racial inequity with the formation of a recent advisory committee that can help the Treasury Department perform policies that aim to narrow economic disparities faced by communities of color.

The Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity will include 25 members from academia, business and advocacy groups. It is going to convene 4 times a 12 months to guage and offer guidance to the Treasury Department and its leadership on an array of programs that touch nearly every corner of the economy.

Biden administration officials say the concentrate on equity will help unlock economic potential that has for a long time gone untapped.

“The steps we take here to take into consideration racial equity aren’t only about moral issues, but how we are able to further our economic agenda by expanding the potential of the economy,” Wally Adeyemo, the deputy Treasury secretary, said in an interview. Mr. Adeyemo noted that the largest gaps in labor force participation occur in marginalized communities.

The committee includes Michael A. Nutter, the previous mayor of Philadelphia; Michael Miebach, the chief executive of Mastercard; David G. Clunie, the chief director of the Black Economic Alliance; Felicia Wong, the president of the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive think tank; and Barika Williams, the chief director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.

Mr. Adeyemo said members of the committee would offer advice on a broad range of policy areas, including taxes, the modernization of the Internal Revenue Service and the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law this 12 months. Members will probably be expected to be “on call” to weigh in on matters relevant to their expertise.

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen has made racial equity a top priority on the department. Last 12 months, she appointed Treasury’s first counselor for racial equity to enhance engagement with diverse communities.

Yet the administration’s concentrate on equity has at times drawn a backlash.

A program that was created as a part of the American Rescue Plan of 2021 to supply debt relief to Black and other farmers of color was blocked after groups of white farmers filed lawsuits claiming that the policy discriminated against them.

Vice President Kamala Harris attracted criticism when conservative commentators accused her of suggesting that communities of color must be prioritized for hurricane relief. White House officials said on Monday that every one communities would quickly receive help but that the Biden administration was mindful that poorer communities often had a tough time getting access to assistance.

Mr. Adeyemo said he viewed the brand new advisory committee as an “accountability group.”

“It’s a helpful approach to help us be accountable to the American people,” he said.

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