“Nobody deserves more praise than President Yellen for the longest economic expansion in American history,” said Wyden, who is set to chair the Senate Finance Committee, which voted unanimously on Friday to present her candidacy.
The full Senate vote was 84 to 15, making Yellen the first woman to head the Treasury. She received support from most Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I have severe disagreements with Dr. Yellen over a number of her positions, particularly in the area of tax policy, but she has committed with us that she will work with us on these issues and concerns that we have,” said Senator Mike and said Crabbo (a R from Idaho) on Friday after voting for her in The Committee: “I think that the strong vote on our part to support it today is an indication that we want to participate.”
The chief of the treasury wields broad influence across government, with a major role in shaping the administration’s position on taxation, the economy, and financial regulation, while also serving as an international diplomat with a hand in trade negotiations and sanctions policy.
But the immediate focus will be on stopping the economic pain of the pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans and forced business closures across the country.
“The epidemic has caused widespread devastation,” Yellin told the committee at a hearing. Entire industries have temporarily ceased operations. Eighteen million unemployment insurance claims are paid each week. Food bank shelves are empty. The damage has been overwhelming, and as the president-elect said last Thursday, our response must be too. ”
And last week, she suggested that the Biden administration would wait until the economy got stronger before pushing out tax hikes on corporations and wealthier Americans. Yellen said the administration will move to increase taxes for other things, such as a plan to increase infrastructure spending, which will come after coronavirus relief legislation.
Meanwhile, the administration will have to chart a course to deal with China; President Donald Trump left office with tariffs still in place on more than $ 350 billion of Chinese goods, in addition to duties on steel and aluminum imports that were enforced through national security authorities.
Yellin told the senators that the Biden administration would use all tools at its disposal to counter unfair Chinese trade practices, but she stopped short of endorsing Trump’s tariff tactics.
It is also under pressure from the left to focus on the interconnections between the financial system and climate change. Yellen said she plans to start a new treasury “center” that would examine financial system risks arising from climate change and related tax incentives. It plans to appoint a high-level official to lead the climate effort.
In written responses to senators released Thursday, Yellen endorsed the idea of raising the minimum wage, a position the left strongly supports.
“Raising the minimum wage will lift tens of millions of Americans out of poverty while expanding access to opportunities for countless small businesses across the country,” she wrote. “It’s important how it is implemented, and the boss’s minimum wage will be implemented in phases over time, giving small businesses plenty of time to adjust.”