San Francisco Chronicle

Yellen ap­proved by panel in Se­nate

- By Martin Crutsinger US Elections · Finance · U.S. News · Politics · US Politics · Business · Joe Biden · U.S. Treasury · Oregon · Republican Party (United States) · Federal Reserve System · Washington · Janet Yellen · Ron Wyden · Charles Grassley

The Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee ap­proved Pres­i­dent Bi­den’s nom­i­na­tion of Janet Yellen to be the nation’s 78th Trea­sury sec­re­tary on Fri­day, set­ting up a fi­nal vote that would make her the first woman to hold the job.

The Fi­nance Com­mit­tee ap­proved her nom­i­na­tion on a 26­0 vote. The ad­min­is­tra­tion is urg­ing a quick con­fir­ma­tion vote in the full Se­nate, say­ing it’s crit­i­cal to get the top mem­ber of Bi­den’s eco­nomic team in place as the Demo­cratic pres­i­dent seeks to win ap­proval of a $1.9 tril­lion coro­n­avirus re­lief plan.

Demo­cratic Sen. Ron Wy­den of Ore­gon, the in­com­ing chair of the Fi­nance Com­mit­tee, said he hoped to get Yellen’s nom­i­na­tion ap­proved by the full Se­nate later Fri­day, but the vote was not sched­uled. It could hap­pen as soon as Mon­day.

Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee said they had a num­ber of pol­icy dis­agree­ments with Yellen and the Bi­den ad­min­is­tra­tion in such ar­eas as rais­ing taxes on cor­po­ra­tions and the wealthy but be­lieved it was im­por­tant to al­low Bi­den to as­sem­ble his eco­nomic team quickly.

At her con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing be­fore the Fi

nance Com­mit­tee on Tues­day, Yellen had ar­gued that with­out prompt ac­tion the nation faced the threat of a “longer, more painful re­ces­sion.” She urged quick ac­tion on the pack­age that would pro­vide an ad­di­tional $1,400 in pay­ments to in­di­vid­u­als mak­ing be­low $75,000 an­nu­ally as well as pro­vid­ing ex­panded un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, fur­ther aid for small busi­nesses and sup­port for cities and states to pre­vent lay­offs.

The plan also pro­vides more sup­port for vac­cine pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, Yellen faced sub­stan­tial push­back on the plan from Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee who ar­gued that the pack­age was too large, es­pe­cially at a time that the fed­eral bud­get deficit has soared above $3 tril­lion. They also ob­jected to such mea­sures as an in­crease in the min­i­mum wage to $15 per hour.

Sen. Chuck Grass­ley, RIowa, told Yellen that Bi­den’s plan rep­re­sented a “laun­dry list of lib­eral struc­tural eco­nomic re­forms.”

As Trea­sury sec­re­tary, Yellen, 74, would oc­cupy a piv­otal role in shap­ing and di­rect­ing Bi­den’s eco­nomic poli­cies. She would en­ter the po­si­tion after many years serv­ing in other top eco­nomic jobs, including be­com­ing the first woman to serve as chair of the Fed­eral Re­serve, from 2014 to 2018.

Since leav­ing the Fed, Yellen has been a dis­tin­guished fel­low in res­i­dence at the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion, a lib­eral Washington think tank.

Ac­cord­ing to fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sure forms she pro­vided dur­ing her con­fir­ma­tion, she col­lected more than $7 mil­lion in speak­ing fees dur­ing more than 50 in­per­son and vir­tual en­gage­ments over the past two years, including with many Wall Street firms. Yellen has agreed to re­cuse her­self from de­ci­sions that would af­fect cer­tain fi­nan­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions.

 ?? Alex Wong / Getty Im­ages / TNS 2020 ?? Sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury nom­i­nee Janet Yellen was ap­proved by the Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee.
Alex Wong / Getty Im­ages / TNS 2020 Sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury nom­i­nee Janet Yellen was ap­proved by the Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee.

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