WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Monday accredited President Joe Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen to be the nation’s 78th treasury secretary, making her the primary lady to carry the job within the division’s 232-year historical past.
Yellen, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, was accredited by the Senate on a 84-15 vote, changing into the third member of Biden’s Cupboard to win affirmation. The 15 votes towards her all got here from Republicans.
She is predicted to play a key function in gaining congressional approval of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bundle, which is operating into stiff opposition from Republicans who imagine the worth tag is just too excessive.
Talking on the Senate ground earlier than the vote, Democratic Majority Chief Chuck Schumer famous the previous Federal Reserve chairwoman had bipartisan assist.
Schumer mentioned Yellen has a “breathtaking vary of expertise” and assist for her nomination mirrored “simply how effectively suited she is to handle the financial challenges of our time … significantly throughout this second of financial disaster.”
Earlier than the approval by the total Senate, Yellen had acquired unanimous backing from the Senate Finance Committee. Republicans on the panel mentioned they’d quite a few coverage disagreements with Yellen and the Biden administration in such areas as elevating taxes on companies and the rich, however believed it was vital to permit Biden to assemble his financial workforce rapidly.
At her affirmation listening to earlier than the Finance Committee final week, Yellen had argued that with out immediate motion the nation confronted the specter of a “longer, extra painful recession.” She urged fast motion on the virus aid bundle that would offer an extra $1,400 in funds to people making under $75,000 yearly in addition to offering expanded unemployment advantages, additional assist for small companies and assist for cities and states to forestall layoffs.
The plan additionally supplies extra assist for vaccine manufacturing and distribution.
“She will be able to take sophisticated financial theories and put them into comprehensible language — all whereas displaying an actual coronary heart for the thousands and thousands of Individuals who’re hurting via no fault of their very own,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., mentioned earlier than the vote.
Throughout her affirmation listening to, Yellen confronted substantial pushback on the plan from Republicans who argued that the bundle was too giant, particularly at a time that the federal price range deficit has soared above $3 trillion. In addition they objected to such measures as a rise within the minimal wage to $15 per hour.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, instructed Yellen that Biden’s plan represented a “laundry record of liberal structural financial reforms.”
As Treasury secretary, Yellen, 74, will occupy a pivotal function in shaping and directing Biden’s financial insurance policies. She enters the Treasury job after a few years serving in different prime financial jobs, together with as the primary lady to function chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018.
An economist by coaching who was a professor on the College of California at Berkeley, Yellen will characterize the Biden administration in international monetary affairs and lead a sprawling division whose obligations cowl overseeing IRS tax collections, making coverage on banking laws and serving because the administration’s contact with Wall Road.
In her earlier roles, Yellen developed an experience in areas starting from labor markets to worldwide finance. Publicly, she steadily signaled concern about how financial insurance policies have an effect on atypical individuals, particularly deprived communities.
She drew excessive marks for her stewardship on the Fed, the place she employed record-low rates of interest and big bond shopping for, two insurance policies begun by her predecessor Ben Bernanke, to assist the economic system because it struggled to emerge from a deep recession. She’s going to now confront a brand new disaster introduced on by a worldwide pandemic.
Since leaving the Fed, Yellen has been a distinguished fellow in residence on the Brookings Establishment, a liberal Washington suppose tank.
In response to monetary disclosure types she supplied throughout her affirmation, she collected greater than $7 million in talking charges throughout greater than 50 in-person and digital engagements over the previous two years, together with with many Wall Road corporations. Yellen has agreed to recuse herself from selections that will have an effect on sure monetary organizations.