Yellen Moves Toward Confirmation for Treasury, With Vote Monday

Janet Yellen is on the verge of confirmation as Treasury secretary after getting the unanimous approval of the Senate Finance Committee on Friday, with a full vote by the chamber set for Monday.

The panel approved Yellen in a 26-0 vote Friday morning. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday that the full chamber will vote on her confirmation on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

The committee’s unanimous vote suggests Yellen will win easy confirmation from the Senate, which the Democrats now control by virtue of a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. Many Republican lawmakers have already voiced their support for Yellen.

“In the Senate you have a hard time getting 26 senators to agree to buy a soda,” Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the finance panel, told reporters.

Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the panel, said that there is “no doubt” about her qualifications, though he didn’t expect to support her entire agenda. GOP Senator Michael Crapo also said he had strong concerns about Yellen’s tax policy, but the Republican support indicates that “we want to engage.”

The 74-year-old former Federal Reserve chair -- who would be the first female Treasury secretary -- will step into the job as President Joe Biden struggles to gain Republican support for his proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which includes funds for vaccine distribution along with $1,400 payments to Americans and extensions to special unemployment benefits.

Biden’s broad plan has garnered little enthusiasm from even moderate Republicans, who say that it’s coming too close on the heels of the $900 billion package approved in December and that it includes several components not directly tied to pandemic relief.

“It’s clear that fiscal stimulus to support the economy and the working families most affected by the impact of Covid-19 is our most urgent priority,” Yellen said Thursday in a written response to questions from senators following her confirmation hearing earlier in the week.

Spending now is “critical” to boost the U.S.’s long-term fiscal health, she said.

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