This week welcomes another first into the history of the United States: A woman became the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. Monday night, January 25, the Senate voted to confirm President Biden’s pick. The bipartisan support confirming Janet Yellen had a final breakdown of 84 yeas to 15 nays.
How Yellen Got The Support
In the midst of exceedingly volatile political times, some may be surprised to hear that both Republicans and Democrats confirmed Yellen for the position so strongly. Yellen’s history, however, has been a leading factor for the confirmation. Her nomination was brought to the Senate Finance Committee on Friday with unanimous support, despite other objections presented by Republicans on Biden’s economic proposals.
“There is no question she is qualified for this role,” said Finance Committee member Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma.
Senate Finance Committee ranking member, Ron Wyden of Oregon tweeted immediately after the vote, “I look forward to working with her to get our economy back on track and Americans back to work.”
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine stated, “As we face an economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, we will need steady, proven leadership at the Treasury Department. A highly respected economist, Dr. Yellen served first as vice chair and then chair of the Federal Reserve. She has served under Democratic and Republican presidents and during periods of economic crisis and economic growth.”
The 15 who voted against Yellen indicated they felt she’s eager to raise taxes, double the minimum wage, and is active in dealing with the energy crisis – among other things – and therefore unsuitable for the role.
Yellen’s First Priority
Yellen’s first order of business has been announced as helping to lead the U.S. out of the crisis that’s been on-going since the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has left millions struggling to put food on their table and pay rent and more than 10 million people unemployed.
During her confirmation hearing last week, Yellen urged lawmakers to move forward quickly, and “act big” in response to the COVID-19 crises.
Currently, President Biden is proposing a $1.9 trillion rescue package which includes $1400 relief payments for the majority of Americans, substantial aid to cash-depleted states and local governments, and extended unemployment benefits across the nation.