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Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary

Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary
© Keren Carrion

Senate Republicans are signaling an openness to helping confirm Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenPowell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Senate confirms Vilsack as Agriculture secretary Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation MORE to be President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenHoyer: House will vote on COVID-19 relief bill Friday Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears MORE’s Treasury Secretary. 

Though GOP senators stopped short of predicting she would be confirmed, they are praising Yellen's qualifications — a stark contrast to other members of Biden's economics team. 

"I believe that she would get a favorable view," said Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyYellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Durbin: Garland likely to get confirmation vote next week Garland says he has not discussed Hunter Biden case with president MORE (R-Iowa), while noting that he doesn't announce his position typically until after Finance Committee hearings are over and noted that they would look at tax documents. 

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Sen. John CornynJohn CornynProgressive support builds for expanding lower courts McConnell backs Garland for attorney general Garland seeks to draw sharp contrast with Trump-era DOJ MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general Trump to attend private RNC donor retreat The Patriot Party already exists — it's the Democrats MORE (R-Ky.), noted that he might have philosophical differences with Yellen but that he believed she was qualified. 

"I think she's fine. I don't have any problems with her," Cornyn said, "My attitude is that absent conflicts of interest or other, you know, lack of temperament and uber partisanship that beyond those that the vice president should get the people that he wants." 

Asked about supporting her for Treasury secretary, he added: "I have heard of no reason why I would not." 

Noting Grassley's comments, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate GOP campaign chief talks strategy with Trump Graham, Trump huddle to talk GOP's 2022 strategy Top firms slash donations to candidates by 90 percent: analysis MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Yellen would get a "fair process," adding "she's obviously very experienced." 

"I can think of worse nominations they could have made," Thune said. 

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Biden formally announced Yellen as his pick to serve as Treasury secretary on Monday. 

Yellen, who previously chaired the Federal Reserve Board, is widely respected on both sides of the aisle. If she's confirmed she'll be the first person to chair the Fed, lead the Treasury Department and serve as chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. 

Which party controls the Senate next year is still in limbo. If Democrats are able to win two Georgia runoffs in January, they would force a 50-50 tie, meaning they could confirm Biden's nominees without GOP support. 

But if Republicans hold a 51 or 52 seat majority, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will have ball control of the floor schedule and Yellen will need GOP support to be confirmed. 

She won the support of nearly a dozen GOP senators in 2014 for her Federal Reserve nomination. But she could pick up new GOP support, with Grasley, who voted against her, noting that vote wasn't predictive of how he will come down on her forthcoming Treasury nomination. 

Yellen is likely to face questions about emergency lending facilities created under the March coronavirus bill.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyPhilly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote Toomey on Trump vote: 'His betrayal of the Constitution' required conviction MORE (R-Pa.), who is expected to the next Banking Chairman if Republicans control the chamber, said in a statement about Yellen's nomination that he would raise the issue with her, while noting that he had "no doubts about her integrity or technical expertise." 

Any disagreements, GOP senators stressed, would focus on policy and not Yellen's personality. 

"I'll walk in with an open mind. I do think we're going to have some serious questions for her about her definition of full employment versus what we're showing right now, but ... the questions that we'll have will be matters of policy. And I think as long as she's prepared to answer those, I'll keep an open mind," said Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsPowell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March 11 GOP senators slam Biden pick for health secretary: 'No meaningful experience' MORE (R-S.D.). 

Rounds added that he believed Biden has a "tie vote" when it comes to Cabinet picks, noting that without significant concerns, "I can still go with the president on what his choice is." 

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Overnight Health Care: COVID-19 vaccine makers pledge massive supply increase | Biden health nominee faces first Senate test | White House defends reopening of facility for migrant kids On The Money: Schumer urges Democrats to stick together on .9T bill | Collins rules out GOP support for Biden relief plan | Powell fights inflation fears MORE (R-Utah) added that he would give her nomination a "thorough review," while nothing that Yellen is "obviously a very competent individual."