Cecilia Rouse, former Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), was confirmed as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) by the United States Senate at approximately 7 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 2 by a vote of 95–4. She is the first African American to lead the CEA in its 75-year history.
Rouse was announced as President Joe Biden’s nominee for the position in November, and hearings were held for her confirmation on Jan. 28. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs unanimously voted (24–0) to move Rouse’s nomination to the full Senate following the hearings.
The Senate invoked cloture early Tuesday afternoon on Rouse’s confirmation, thus ending the debate with a vote of 94–5 with one Senator, Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), abstaining.
Prior to the confirmation vote, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) delivered a speech to the Senate urging them to vote for Rouse’s confirmation.
“Dr. Rouse is exactly who we need at the helm. She will help direct our nation’s economic policy to put Americans back to work at better jobs with higher wages,” he stated.
Both Princeton alumni currently serving in the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz ’92 (R-Texas) and Jeff Merkley *82 (D-Ore.) voted to confirm Rouse.
On Thursday, Rouse emailed a statement to SPIA undergraduates about her departure from the department.
“It is an honor to return to public service and help President Biden and Vice President Harris lead a much-needed economic recovery. I am ready and focused on the task ahead,“ she wrote.
Rouse expressed her gratitude for her time as Dean.
“At the same time, this means I must officially step down as dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. This was not an easy decision. Serving as your dean has been one of the most fulfilling chapters of my career, and I have all of you to thank.”
She said she was sworn in yesterday at Robertson Hall by Heather Evans, SPIA’s Executive Assistant to the Dean.
“As I walked up the steps to the building, I thought of all that we have accomplished together and the community we have built,“ she wrote. “Over the years, we have made a space for Princeton in the policy arena. We’ve begun to tackle some tough issues, important work that will continue. And, along the way, we've also had a lot of fun together.”
Rouse indicated that her leave from Princeton will not be permanent.
“While I am resigning as dean, I will not be leaving Princeton. I'll remain local until it's safe for me to go to Washington, and after my time in public service, I will return to my post as professor at Princeton,“ Rouse wrote.
“Even though this sounds like a goodbye, it is more of a ‘see you soon.’ As such, my Princeton email will remain live, so keep in touch,“ she continued.
Rouse’s replacement as SPIA Dean has yet to be decided. A search committee has been created for a new dean. Until then, Mark Watson, professor of economics and public affairs, will serve as acting SPIA Dean.
“It has been a privilege to serve as your dean. Thank you for working with me, laughing with me, and together serving our nation and humanity,“ Rouse concluded.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 4 to add an email from Cecilia Rouse.