Biden To Choose Ex-Fed Chair Yellen as First Woman Treasury Secretary, Allies Say

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to tap former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as U.S. Treasury Secretary, putting a woman in the job for the first time, according to two Democratic allies.

With Yellen, 74, Biden has chosen an experienced policymaker respected by Congress, international finance officials, progressives and business interests, and one that has called for opening fiscal spending taps to boost economic recovery.

A spokesman for Biden’s transition team declined to comment. Yellen, reached by phone, also declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal earlier on Monday reported that Biden planned to nominate Yellen as his Treasury chief.

Jen Psaki, a Biden transition adviser, tweeted that the president-elect “looks forward to announcing some members of his economic team early next week who will work with him to build the economy back better.”

Earlier on Monday, Biden tapped veteran diplomat Antony Blinken as his new Secretary of State and named other members of his national security team.

U.S. President Donald Trump continues to dispute without evidence Biden’s victory over him in the Nov. 3 election.

STRONG ADVOCATE OF FISCAL HELP

Yellen has called for increased government spending to boost the U.S. economy out of a deep recession brought on by the coronavirus and has frequently cited growing economic inequality in the United States as a threat to America’s values and its future.

At Treasury, she would have a major role in influencing U.S. fiscal and tax policy, tools she did not have at the Fed, which she chaired from 2014 to 2018. She was the Fed’s vice chair from 2010 to 2014.

Yellen was chosen over two other seasoned economic policymakers, including current Fed Board of Governors member Lael Brainard, 58, who served as the Treasury’s undersecretary for international affairs early in the Obama administration. Also under consideration was former Fed governor Roger Ferguson, 69, who recently announced his retirement as chairman of pension fund TIAA.

Ferguson would have been the first Black Treasury secretary.

U.S. stocks picked up ground following the report, with investors seeing Yellen as a force for more fiscal action to combat the economic crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as someone in a strong position to ensure the Treasury will continue to work closely with the Fed.

“Yellen should be a very strong advocate for more aggressive fiscal policy, and given her gravitas around Washington, it may make her the single most effective fiscal expansion advocate Biden could have picked,” said Tom Graff, head of fixed income at Brown Advisory in Baltimore.

The S&P 500 Index rose from roughly unchanged on the day at the time of the initial report to gain 0.57% by the closing bell. Prices of U.S. Treasury securities remained lower on the day. The dollar was little changed.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a rival to Biden for the Democratic nomination for president and also considered a possibility for the Treasury post, tweeted that Yellen would be “an outstanding choice’ and praised her for having ‘stood up to Wall Street banks” as Fed chair.

“Experience, knowledge of the system, and a deep understanding of monetary policy – she brings a lot to the table,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut. “And having an intimate knowledge of how the Fed works and bringing that to the Treasury, it’s a good move.”

Current Fed Chair Jerome Powell served as a member of the Board of Governors through all four years of Yellen’s term as head of the Fed, and he succeeded her in 2018.

The daughter of a family doctor and elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, New York, Yellen earned a doctorate in economics from Yale and has taught economics at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University and the London School of Economics (LSE).

(Reporting by David Lawder and Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Tim Ahmann, Eric Beech, Jonnelle Marte, Kate Duguid and Stephen Culp; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Andrea Ricci)

Responses

  1. The American people don’t have time to wait for change, Jayjay. By the end of next month, MORE protections disappear. MORE people will be running out of options and both parties are still diddling. Way too many of us have little to no health care. Nearly HALF of us are poor or on that edge. THAT is disgraceful and unsustainable.

    These people don’t have time for small changes around the edges. A $15 minimum wage is barely enough for survival and it needs to be ramped up, not immediate. Yes, it is better than $7, but it should be well over $20. Medical bankruptcy is unbelievable in the richest country in the world.

    Steady as you go may work for the rich, but not for the people who work just to survive.

  2. I respectfully disagree with your assessment. At my age I’ve learned that patience does not mean inaction. We shall see won’t we???

  3. “Now is not the time to start putting progressives in because all will happen is the republican controlled Senate will throw down hurdles and roadblocks.” Jayjay

    Don’t worry, Jayjay, the Democrat leadership will fight progressives harder than they will EVER fight conservatives. They sidelined Bernie Sanders TWICE just to make that point clear. They are so willing to lose to an opposing party that they will challenge progressive candidates even when the progressive candidate leads in a district. That is absurd, but they do that all of the time!

    “it’s realized that the future is a more progressive one albeit a light version…baby steps” Jayjay

    The American people can not afford incrementalism. And don’t forget that progressive policies represent the majority of the people, both left AND right, the very definition of centrist/moderation. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party leadership does not represent moderation, except for a few social issues.

  4. Now is not the time to start putting progressives in because all will happen is the republican controlled Senate will throw down hurdles and roadblocks. We need to get back to repairing all the damage Typhoid Trump has reined on the US. That means getting things passed. It’s pragmatic. Democrats are a very diverse group and after the democrat primaries, it’s realized that the future is a more progressive one albeit a light version…baby steps. Look what happened when the republicans thought that an extreme change of voting for a non political , supposed successful businessman would be a good thing. I take comfort in the fact that the Republican Party is more fractured, between the trump cultists and the real conservative old guard.

  5. General, WHAT specifically do you want changed other than of course the following of the law? Sec. Mnuchin promised the Secret Service costs report for protecting the Trump family during travel was by law due to be released in January, 2020, delayed until AFTER the 2020 election. It is after the election.

    Sen. Warren being in the Cabinet never made sense when Gov Charlie Baker is a Republican and would have named a Republican to replace her until primary and a general elections are concluded. Vermont’s Governor is also currently a Republican. Does your fantasy include 2 R governors naming far-left individuals to replace them?? Highly unlikely.

  6. Wall Street is happy because they are betting that she will keep Joke Biden’s promise of “doing nothing”, no major changes.

    Told you.

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