Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury

Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury
© Greg Nash

The Senate Finance Committee on Friday unanimously advanced Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — White House plans extreme heat workplace standard McConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill Democrats aim to suspend debt limit with bill to avoid government shutdown MORE’s nomination to be Treasury secretary, furthering President BidenJoe BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE’s choice for a key Cabinet position.

The committee approved the nomination by a vote of 26-0.

Democrats are hoping that Yellen will quickly be confirmed by the full Senate. Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenA Democratic plan to wipe out independent contractors Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes Want a clean energy future? Look to the tax code MORE (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, said he hopes that the nomination will get a vote on the Senate floor later in the day.

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Yellen has an extensive background in economic policy, having previously served as chair of the Federal Reserve and the Council of Economic Advisers. If confirmed, as is widely expected, she would be the first woman to be Treasury secretary.

"Soon-to-be, I hope, Secretary Yellen is probably the most qualified Treasury Secretary, probably, in American history. I appreciate her gravitas and her depth," said Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownCentrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary The Trojan Horse of protectionism Advocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments MORE (D-Ohio).

During her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Yellen advocated for extensive federal spending in an effort to address the coronavirus pandemic and related economic downturn.

Democrats praised Yellen’s qualifications and her support for substantial coronavirus relief. Republicans did not raise questions about her qualifications but raised concerns about Biden’s spending and tax proposals.

“There’s no doubt about the qualifications of Dr. Yellen,” said Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' Democrat rips Justice for not appearing at US gymnastics hearing MORE (R-Iowa). “That’s not to say, however, that I do not have concerns, but they’re policy concerns.”

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Yellen spent much of her confirmation hearing making the case for Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus response and economic aid plan — the top legislative priority for the president and congressional Democrats. She sought to convince debt-conscious Republicans that the costs of approving too little aid for the struggling economy would make it harder for the U.S. to recover from the pandemic and eventually cover the cost of fighting it.

Yellen also told senators that tax increases are not an immediate priority for the Biden administration, but could be included in future stimulus packages.

Republicans made a point to distinguish between Yellen’s qualifications, which they said were clear, and their philosophical and policy differences, noting her support for an increased minimum wage, a major spending package and tax increases on businesses and the wealthy.

“There’s no question she’s qualified for this role, so I have to strike a balance between my advice and my consent,” said Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordBen & Jerry's unveils new flavor in support of Cori Bush's public safety reform bill GOP senator: Buying Treasury bonds 'foolish' amid standoff over debt ceiling, taxes Florida senator seeks probe of Ben & Jerry's halting sales in Israeli settlements MORE (R-Okla.), adding appreciation for Yellen’s commitment to bring relevant issues to the committee members.