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Janet Yellen Readies Big Changes for Treasury

  • January 18, 2021

“Yellen did not deliver prepared remarks at her speaking engagements; most were armchair conversations where she answered questions from a moderator and some of whom were reporters,” said Sean Savett, a Biden transition spokesman. “She has already signed ethics agreements governing her relationship with these entities and she will of course abide by all appropriate recusals.”

Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee could question Ms. Yellen about the speaking fees, but Democrats are unlikely to press her on the issue.

“This is the worst economic crisis in 100 years, and nobody is better qualified than Secretary-designate Yellen to lead an economic recovery,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who will become the Finance Committee chairman when Democrats take control of the Senate. “She deserves much of the credit for the longest economic expansion in our history, which lasted until the pandemic hit.”

The confirmation process is expected to be a relatively smooth one. Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, currently Republican chairman of the Finance Committee, has spoken positively of Ms. Yellen since Mr. Biden picked her for the job.

Mr. Grassley said on Friday that he had spoken to Ms. Yellen and said he emphasized to her the importance of cooperation with congressional oversight, and also expressed concern that tax increases and more regulation would slow the economic recovery.

In 2014, the Senate confirmed Ms. Yellen to be Fed chair by a vote of 56 to 26.

While Ms. Yellen, an economist by training, has a deep understanding of monetary policy, the portfolio at the Treasury Department is vast. She will likely face questions about America’s economic relationship with China, her position on sanctions policy as it relates to Iran and her thoughts on tax policy. She could even face questions on thorny subjects that Treasury deals with, such whether Harriet Tubman should be the face of the $20 bill, an Obama administration initiative that Mr. Mnuchin let lapse.

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