WASHINGTON: Janet Yellen won overwhelming Senate confirmation as the first woman to lead the US Treasury on Monday, setting her quickly to work with Congress on coronavirus relief, reviewing US sanctions policy and strengthening financial regulation.
The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Yellen, with all opposition coming from Republicans, several of whom have expressed concerns about President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid plan, tax hikes and other spending initiatives.
Shortly after the vote, House of Representatives Democrats delivered to the Senate a charge of impeachment against former President Donald Trump, accusing him of inciting insurrection in a speech to supporters before the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol. The planned February trial has stoked some partisan divisions in the chamber, but those were largely absent on Monday.
“Secretary Yellen’s confirmation shatters another glass ceiling,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said in a statement. “In a field dominated by men, it’s refreshing to finally see a woman leading the Treasury Department.”
Yellen, 74, made history in 2014 when she became the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve. A portrait of the economist and daughter of a Brooklyn, New York, family doctor will join those of 76 other secretaries in Treasury’s hallways, dating back to the first, Alexander Hamilton.
The White House had no immediate comment on when Yellen would be sworn in, or by whom.
She won the votes of 34 Republicans in a strong bipartisan vote, with a number of them pledging to work with her.
Yellen will play a key role in working with Congress on Biden’s coronavirus stimulus plans and on his pledges to invest $2 trillion in infrastructure, green energy projects, education and research to boost American competitiveness.
Treasury will oversee Biden’s plans to help finance these initiatives by trying to persuade Congress to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% and increase taxes on Americans making over $400,000 a year.