CEA Chair Defends MLB’s Decision To Relocate Game Over Opposition To GA Law

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse talks with reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on March 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. To mark Equal Pay Day, Rouse a... WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse talks with reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on March 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. To mark Equal Pay Day, Rouse and council member Heather Boushey highlighted the Biden Administration's efforts toward pay equity between women and men. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Council of Economic Advisers chair Dr. Cecilia Rouse on Sunday defended the Major League Baseball’s decision to relocate its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s new restrictive voting law.

During an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Rouse was asked about President Biden calling on the MLB to relocate its All-Star Game prior to the league taking it upon itself to do so. The CEA chair was pressed on whether the President’s demand for the MLB means that the White House is urging corporations to use their economic power to take political positions.

Rouse cited Biden’s strong opposition to state laws restricting voting rights, likening Georgia’s new voting overhaul law “Jim Crow of the 21st century,” before defending companies’ rights to “vote with their feet.”

“It’s a little early to judge what the economic impact will be, but they have a right to vote with their feet and to express their dissatisfaction with the laws,” Rouse said.

Pressed more on how the MLB’s decision will affect workers in Atlanta, such as those who would have worked the MLB All-Star Game at the city’s Truist Park, Rouse acknowledged that workers in Atlanta will “undoubtedly” experience a cost as a result of the MLB’s decision.

“I think that was the point that the Major League Baseball was trying to make,” Rouse said.

Rouse noted that the MLB will relocate its All-Star Game to a location that will benefit economically from the league’s decision, and argued that rationale as the message that the MLB was trying to send in the first place.

“The President opposes these laws. He believes that they are restrictive, they are discriminatory,” Rouse said. “These businesses, these companies have the opportunity to vote with their feet and they’re using their economic power to just express their dissatisfaction.”

Rouse’s remarks come a day after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who signed the new Georgia voting legislation into law, accused the MLB of submitting to “fear and lies” by depriving Georgians of a paycheck after it decided to move its All-Star Game out of Atlanta over the state’s new voting law.

“Yesterday, Major League Baseball caved to fear and lies from liberal activists,” Kemp said at a news conference on Saturday. “In the middle of a pandemic, Major League Baseball put the wishes of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden ahead of the economic well-being of hard-working Georgians who were counting on the All-Star Game for a paycheck.”

Earlier Sunday, former American Express CEO Ken Chenault, who led a group of dozens of Black corporate executives urging more corporations to speak out against Georgia’s new voting law, told CNN that it the MLB’s move to relocate its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to the legislation’s restrictive provisions. is “unfortunate.”

Chenault insisted that the group of Black corporate executives demanded that corporations publicly oppose legislation that works to restrict voting access, but added that he can understand where the MLB was coming from in deciding to relocate its All-Star Game.

“But we certainly wish it did not have to happen,” Cheunault said. “But what we need to focus on in America is the fundamental right to vote. We cannot compromise on that right.”

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former Georgia House member, had also expressed her disappointment with the MLB’s decision, but commended the league for speaking out against the new Georgia law in a statement issued Friday.

In her statement, Abrams raised concerns over the loss of events and jobs for workers in Atlanta as a result of the MLB’s move.

“As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs. Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states,” Abrams said.

Watch Rouse’s remarks below:

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