Nigerian-born Adeyemo becomes US first black deputy treasury secretary

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A Nigerian-American, Adewale Adeyemo, has been confirmed as the first black Deputy Treasury Secretary in United State’s history. 

Adeyemo, was on Thursday, confirmed by the Senate, making him the department’s first black No. 2 official.

His confirmation was done via voice vote, a process through which the Senate can approve non-controversial legislation and nomination without formally recording the decisions of each senator.

Adeyemo was born in Ibadan in Oyo State but raised in California.

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved his nomination on March 3 after Adeyemo won broad bipartisan praise during his confirmation hearing.

Adeyemo will aid Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen – the first woman to hold that role – amid crucial challenges for the department.

“Wally (Adewole) is everything the Treasury Department needs right now: He has spent his career working at the intersection of America’s national security interests [and] our economic ones,” Yellen said in a statement.

“In the process, he’s become a master of shuttle economic diplomacy, helping keep America’s economy strong at home and competitive abroad,” she continued.

Adeyemo served in a variety of high-ranking roles during the Obama administration, including deputy director of the White House National Economic Council and deputy national security adviser.

He was also the first chief of staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

Adeyemo joins the Treasury department as it faces a range of urgent domestic and international concerns.

Treasury is racing to distribute hundreds of billions of aid approved by the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, including direct payments to households, funding for state and local governments and rental assistance.

The IRS is also facing several challenges in processing tax returns delayed by the pandemic and implementing tax changes approved through Biden’s relief law.

Adeyemo, however, is expected to focus primarily on international and national security-related issues under Treasury’s jurisdiction, including financial sanctions, amid growing tensions between the U.S. and global adversaries.

“Congratulations to Adewale Adeyemo on his confirmation as Deputy Treasury Secretary! He is the first African American to hold the position. The University of California and Yale alumnus was born in Ibadan, Oyo State and raised in Southern California. Kudos,” the U.S. Mission in Nigeria wrote on Twitter. 

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