The Senate will vote on Janet Yellen’s approval to become Treasury Secretary late Monday afternoon. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to head the department in its 230+ year history.
Her nomination was brought forward by the Senate Finance Committee on Friday with unanimous support from 26 to 0, and both Democrats and Republicans praised her after the committee vote. “I think this is a great way to start the new year with a unanimous vote on behalf of someone who I believe is actually the most competent and skilled Treasury Secretary we have ever had,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, member of the committee.
Senior Senator Ron Wyden referred to Yellen as an “NBA All-Star” when it comes to completing the Senate nomination process. Yellen has already been confirmed four times by the Senate for Economic Positions.
Yellen’s first job will be to bring the US out of an ongoing economic crisis stemming from the coronavirus pandemic that left more than 10 million people unemployed and millions more struggled to make ends meet.
She is the first to serve as Secretary of the Treasury, Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, and Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Republicans also recognized Yellen’s extensive background in the business sector and President Biden’s right to choose his own cabinet members.
“There is no doubt about Dr. Yellen’s qualifications,” said Chairman Chuck Grassley before voting for Yellen. “However, that doesn’t mean I have no concerns, but they are political concerns. I don’t endorse some of Dr. Yellen’s political agenda.”
Other Republican members of the committee took a similar approach, both praising and raising possible concerns.
“I believe Janet Yellen is highly qualified. As I said, perhaps one of the most qualified to serve,” said Rob Portman, Ohio senator. “I am encouraged by my conversation with her about fiscal sanity, in which she said she would be a voice for fiscal sanity within the administration when we have an unprecedented deficit and the greatest debt.”
“I have deep disagreements with Dr. Yellen over a number of her positions, particularly tax policy, but she has promised us that she will work with us on these questions and the concerns we have,” said Mike, Senator from Idaho Crapo, a Republican. “And I think a strong vote on our side to support them today is an indication that we want to get involved.”
Before Yellen was the first woman to head the finance department, she was also the first woman to serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. She is expected to be the third member of President Biden’s cabinet to be ratified by the Senate after National Intelligence Director Avril Haines and retired Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin.