WASHINGTON — Former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen has been confirmed as President Biden’s Treasury Secretary, becoming the first woman to hold the role.
Yellen was confirmed by the Senate on Monday evening in a bipartisan vote, 84-15, and became the third secretary in Biden’s cabinet to pass the confirmation process.
The Brooklyn-born economist is a widely respected figure and is now the first person ever to hold the top three economic positions in American government.
A centrist, Yellen chaired the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018 and was also the first woman to hold that role.
During her confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill last week, Yellen urged Congress to “go big” and pass Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package.
“When economists look back on the pandemic, I expect they’ll conclude that Congress’ actions averted a lot of suffering,” she said.
Despite being one of the most experienced economists in the country, Yellen takes over the US Department of Treasury at a time of great turmoil.
The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered large swaths of the economy, unemployment claims are on the rise, and the jobless rate is hovering around 6.7 percent.
Despite their ideological differences, Republicans voted to confirm Yellen, but warned against increasing the ballooning national debt and hiking tax rates.
“Janet Yellen is well-qualified with a wide breadth of experience, and that’s why I supported her despite our significant policy disagreements,” GOP Sen. John Cornyn said in a statement Friday.
“I hope she will work with conservatives to find consensus on these areas, namely taxes and government spending, should she be confirmed,” he said.