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Treasury official Ben Harris, architect of Russian oil cap, to leave Biden administration: report

Top Treasury Department official Ben Harris, who was an architect for the Biden administration’s cap on the price of Russian oil, plans to leave the administration in the upcoming weeks, Axios reported Thursday. 

Harris, who has been the department’s top economist as the assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy since 2021, was also reportedly a main figure in Biden’s push for the Build Back Better Plan and eventually the Inflation Reduction Act, which included elements of the plan. 

The United States and its allies imposed the price cap on Russian oil in December to try to add another financial penalty on Moscow in response to its war against Ukraine. The cap prevents Russia from having access to services such insurance and trade finance for its oil shipments if it is sold for more than $60 per barrel. 

A person familiar with the matter told Axios that the Treasury Department is considering replacements for Harris. The department declined to comment to Axios. 

Harris will become the latest Biden official to plan to leave after two years of relatively widespread stability across the administration. Ron Klain left his position as chief of staff, and Brian Deese departed from his post as director of the National Economic Council earlier this month. 

Axios reported that Harris served as a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management before taking his position in the administration and will likely return to an academic post. 

Harris reportedly served as the top economic adviser to Biden during the last few years of his vice presidency and maintained his ties with the now-president during the Trump administration.

Source: The Hill

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