Yellen Confirmation Hearing for Treasury Scheduled Jan. 19
(Bloomberg) -- Janet Yellen’s confirmation hearing as Treasury secretary is scheduled for Jan. 19 in front of the Senate Finance Committee, the day before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office.
Yellen, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to win confirmation easily in the Senate. While she occasionally sparred with Republican lawmakers during her tenure at the Fed, some GOP senators have already said they support her nomination. The hearing is set for 10 a.m., the committee announced on Tuesday.
In Yellen, Biden will have a battle-tested policy maker who can draw on decades of experience at the Fed to help rebuild an economy in dire need of government cash and confidence. Biden has called for trillions of dollars in new stimulus, including aid to small and mid-size businesses that are the nation’s jobs engine.
Yellen is likely to be one of the first Biden cabinet picks to be confirmed, if the Senate isn’t embroiled in an impeachment trial for Donald Trump, whose presidency ends Jan. 20.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday called for “having key economic nominees confirmed and on the job ASAP.”
A Biden transition spokesperson did not immediately reply to request for comment. Senate Finance Committee spokesman Taylor Foy declined to comment.
The U.S. economy is showing signs of further erosion as some states shutter businesses again in a bid to slow the resurgent spread of coronavirus. The U.S. outbreak has posed a drag on the nascent labor-market recovery, with jobless claims ticking up and payrolls dropping last month.
“As our first order of legislative business, please prepare to address additional Covid emergency relief legislation,” Schumer said in a letter to fellow Democrats Tuesday.
Yellen is expected to champion what she has called “extraordinary fiscal support” to help the economy -- deficit spending that she says is affordable given extraordinarily low interest rates.
While most legislation requires 60 votes in the Senate -- a challenge given the incoming 50-50 split -- some parts of the planned Covid-19 relief bill could be spirited through with a simple majority, by using the so-called reconciliation process. Incoming Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders noted Republicans’ use of this tool for tax cuts in the past, and pledged to “use the same process to boldly address the needs of working families.”
If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen, 74, will be the first woman to serve as Treasury chief and the oldest to hold that job in recent history. In 2014, she was confirmed as the first woman to chair the Fed.
Among her first tasks will be deciding on what to do about the Fed’s pandemic lending programs after outgoing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ordered untapped government funds to be returned. She may try to extend the programs, which is the Fed’s preference, or redesign them since many of the funds weren’t used.
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