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Senate confirms Adeyemo as deputy Treasury secretary

Senate confirms Adeyemo as deputy Treasury secretary
© Greg Nash

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Wally AdeyemoWally AdeyemoDemocrat slams Yellen for failing to appear at hearing Treasury announces COVID-19 relief oversight office On The Money: Social Security gives IRS data for COVID-19 relief checks | Senate passes bill heading off Medicare cuts MORE as the deputy secretary of the Treasury, making him the department’s first Black No. 2 official.

Adeyemo was confirmed Thursday via voice vote, a process through which the Senate can approve non-controversial legislation and nomination without formally recording the decisions of each senator.

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved his nomination on March 3 after Adeyemo won broad bipartisan praise during his confirmation hearing.

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Adeyemo will become the first Black deputy Treasury secretary, aiding Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin On The Money: Democrats wary of emerging bipartisan infrastructure deal, warn of time crunch New report reignites push for wealth tax MORE — the first woman to hold that role — amid crucial challenges for the department.

“Wally is everything the Treasury Department needs right now: He has spent his career working at the intersection of America’s national security interests [and] our economic ones,” Yellen said in a statement.

“In the process, he’s become a master of shuttle economic diplomacy, helping keep America’s economy strong at home and competitive abroad,” she continued.

Adeyemo served in a variety of high-ranking roles during the Obama administration, including deputy director of the White House National Economic Council and deputy national security adviser. He was also the first chief of staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

Adeyemo joins the Treasury department as it faces a range of urgent domestic and international concerns. 

Treasury is racing to distribute hundreds of billions of aid approved by the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, including direct payments to households, funding for state and local governments and rental assistance.

The IRS is also facing several challenges processing tax returns delayed by the pandemic and implementing tax changes approved through Biden’s relief law.

Adeyemo, however, is expected to focus primarily on international and national security-related issues under Treasury’s jurisdiction, including financial sanctions, amid growing tensions between the U.S. and global adversaries.