Overnight Finance

On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus

Happy Monday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Niv Elis, filling in for Sylvan Lane, with your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL - President-elect Joe Biden will name former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary nominee, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Yellen, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, would be the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary. She had been seen as a top candidate for the position, and one who could probably be confirmed by the Senate even if it is in GOP hands after the results of two runoff elections in Georgia in January are known.

The Senate in 2014 confirmed Yellen as Fed chair in a 56-26 vote, though many of the Republicans who backed her then are no longer in Congress.

What it means:

  • Yellen's nomination would be the latest signal of Biden's effort to set up a diverse Cabinet. 
  • On Monday he announced he would nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as Homeland Security secretary, Avril Haines to be director of national intelligence and Linda Thomas-Greenfield to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. 
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was seen as a top contender for the post, and some of her supporters are likely to be disappointed that Biden did not choose to nominate her for the position.

The stock market jumped on the news. 

Read more from Sylvan Lane and Ian Swanson here.

LEADING THE DAY: A slew of expiring emergency programs are setting up an economic "COVID cliff" come 2021, which could see millions of people lose unemployment insurance and get evicted, while a growing wave of small businesses close shop.

March's CARES Act set up myriad programs to give people economic relief in the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which are set to expire on Dec. 31.

Unless a divided Congress can reach a deal to extend the programs, the country's economic suffering could skyrocket.

I have more details for you here.

Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus: Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are facing increasing pressure - both internal and external - to accept a smaller coronavirus aid package for the sake of securing another round of emergency relief before year's end. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) have insisted for weeks that the House-passed $2.2 trillion bill is their starting point for any negotiations as they've sought to nudge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) closer to their position from the $500 billion he's championed. 

But the Democratic strategy is running into roadblocks as President-elect Joe Biden signals he wants an agreement this year and more and more Democratic lawmakers are opening the door to going below the top leaders' $2.2 trillion red line. 

More info from the dream team of Mike Lillis, Jordain Carney, and Naomi Jagoda here.

NOT SO FAST - Biden aides dispute push for quicker, pared-down relief deal: President-elect Joe Biden's transition team on Monday pushed back on a report that he would favor a quicker economic relief deal, even if it meant ceding ground on some Democratic demands.

"This is incorrect. The President-elect fully supports the Speaker and Leader in their negotiations," transition spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Biden's advisers were pushing Democratic leaders to broker a quick stimulus deal with Senate Republicans to avoid further strain on the economy as the U.S. faces a worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Brett Samuels has the details here.

On a related note, economists are calling for more stimulus checks, while former Treasury Secretaries from both parties say a deal cannot wait, and is needed in the lame-duck session.

Trump nominee's long road to Fed may be dead end: Judy Shelton's long, strange trip to the Federal Reserve Board may have finally reached a dead-end. 

President Trump's controversial Fed nominee stalled Tuesday when a procedural vote to advance her nomination failed in the Senate. The coronavirus-related absences of Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Rick Scott (Fla.), both of whom since tested positive for COVID-19, deprived Shelton of two crucial votes that would have sealed her confirmation.

While Shelton seemed to have the necessary support to win a spot on the Fed board when the week started, she now has two exceedingly narrow paths to confirmation - one of which depends on unlikely bipartisanship and the other on unprecedented presidential action.

Sylvan Lane has more here