Senate Confirms Janet Yellen as First Female Treasury Secretary

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference in Washington, D.C. December 13, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary on Monday, making her the first woman in American history to hold the position.

Yellen, who won unanimous backing from both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, will lead the Biden administration’s response to the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Senator James Lankford (R., Okla.), a member of the Finance Committee, said there is “no question she is qualified for this role.”

Yellen, a labor economist, chaired the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018. During the Clinton administration, she led the Council of Economic Advisers.

During her confirmation hearing last week she called on lawmakers to “act big” in response to the pandemic, saying that the new administration’s priority must be to bring the country and its citizens through the pandemic before tackling other issues.

She will work to move President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan through Congress and will oversee its execution.

“Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she told the Senate Finance Committee.

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