WASHINGTON—Adewale Adeyemo, President Biden’s nominee for the No. 2 spot at the Treasury Department, said he sees inequality as a top challenge for the U.S. economy as the country moves past the Covid-induced recession.
That view is informed by his background as an immigrant from Nigeria who came to the U.S. as a small child with his parents, a teacher and a nurse, he told the Senate Finance Committee at his confirmation hearing Tuesday.
“It’s a critical economic issue that we unlock the unrealized potential of marginalized people in this country in order to grow our economy and make sure that we’re competitive going forward,” he said.
If Mr. Adeyemo is confirmed as expected, he and his prospective boss, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, will make history as the first woman to lead the agency and the first Black deputy secretary.
Mr. Adeyemo, a former BlackRock Inc. executive who goes by Wally, will help Ms. Yellen advance two major economic-policy packages: first a $1.9 trillion coronavirus-relief bill, then a bill focused on long-term investments in areas such as infrastructure and clean energy.