International Policy Digest

Mark Warner
Emerging Voices /01 Dec 2020
12.01.20

Democratic Lawmakers Commend Yellen Pick for Treasury Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden nominated economist Janet Yellen for Secretary of the Treasury on Monday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted the selection of Yellen as “brilliant” and “visionary.” Pelosi said, “Dr. Janet Yellen’s discipline, determination, and dazzling track record of success at the forefront of economic policy-making will be indispensable in our country’s work to not only recover from this crisis but to Build Back Better.”

If her nomination is successful, Yellen would be the first female Treasury Secretary in the department’s history. The 74-year-old served as the 15th Chair of the Federal Reserve until 2018 and as a top economic advisor in President Bill Clinton’s administration in the 1990s.

During her tenure working for the Federal Reserve, Yellen shed light on the impact of bank’s policies for working-class families and the harmful costs of rising inequities among Americans. Yellen brings 40-plus years of a “prolific” career as an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Some of Yellen’s colleagues trumpet her leadership and involvement in helping stir the nation’s economic recovery in the right direction following the 2007 financial crisis.

“Now more than ever—in the midst of a pandemic that has cost tens of millions their jobs—we need strong champions for working families and Main Street businesses in our Treasury Department to guide us toward a path of economic prosperity for all—people like Janet Yellen,” said Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) added, “Not only will [Yellen] be the first woman to serve in this position, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on monetary, fiscal, and regulatory policy, so she can immediately get to work on behalf of the American people.”

The Biden-Harris transition team also nominated Neera Tanden as Director of the Office of Management and Budget; Wally Adeyemo as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury; Cecilia Rouse as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; and Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey as members of the Council of Economic Advisers. It should be pointed out that Neera Tanden’s nomination has been assailed by some of Biden’s allies so her nomination is not a sure thing.

“As we get to work to control the virus, this is the team that will deliver immediate economic relief for the American people during this economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than ever,” said President-elect Biden. “This team is comprised of respected and tested groundbreaking public servants who will help the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and address the structural inequities in our economy.”

Biden mentioned that he selected this team of diverse economic professionals because they will hit the ground running on January 20, 2021. Biden also praised their different experiences of handling national financial crises during their decades-long careers.

“They are not only some of America’s most brilliant economic minds, they are also proven leaders who reflect the very best of our country,” said Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris. “And they share a fundamental commitment to ending this economic crisis and putting people back to work, while rebuilding our economy in a way that lifts up all Americans. With the selection of these crisis-tested public servants, the American people are getting the economic team they need — and deserve.”