US Senate panel okays Yellen’s nomination as Treasury Secy

The US Senate Finance Committee on Friday unanimously approved President Joe Biden’s nomination of former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be the next US Treasury Secretary.

The Senate panel approved Yellen’s nomination by a vote of 26-0, sending it to the full Senate for final confirmation, the Xinhua news agency reported.

“I hope that President Biden realises that the treatment of Dr. Yellen’s nomination in this Committee signals interest by me and my Republican colleagues in working cooperatively and in a bipartisan way,” Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said.

“We want to work on policy issues to help all Americans, and are not interested in cancerous culture wars that serve only to divide the country,” Grassley said.

Yellen, a 74-year-old well-regarded economist, is not expected to face any serious opposition from US senators.

“As I noted earlier, her nomination triggered the most favourable reaction to any I can remember — economists, politicians and market participants,” Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz, tweeted on Friday.

At a confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Yellen urged US Congress to “act big” with a new Covid-19 relief package as the economic recovery is losing momentum amid surging coronavirus cases.

“Economists don’t always agree, but I think there is a consensus now: Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later,” Yellen said.

Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief proposal, which draws opposition from a growing number of congressional Republicans. It’s unclear whether the Biden administration would secure enough votes for a new massive relief package.

If confirmed by the full Senate, Yellen would be the first woman to serve as US Treasury Secretary in the department’s 231 years of history. She would also be the first person to have served as Treasury Secretary, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, and chair of the Federal Reserve.