Washington, Jan 25 (efe-epa).- Former United States Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen was confirmed Monday as the first female treasury secretary in US history.
Yellen, nominated by President Joe Biden, was approved by the Senate 84 votes in favor and 15 against.
Not only is she the first woman to head the Treasury in its 230-year history, the 74-year-old is also the first treasury secretary to have also headed the US central bank, a position she held between 2014 and 2018.
In her hearing last week before the Senate Finance Committee, Yellen asked Congress to “act big” on coronavirus relief packages to mitigate the pandemic’s effects on the economy, backing Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan, while pointing to China’s “abusive” practices in trade and technology as one of the main economic challenges.
“Economists don’t always agree, but I think there is a consensus now: Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now – and longer-term scarring of the economy later,” Yellen said.
Biden’s ambitious fiscal stimulus plan includes payments for citizens, reinforcement of the federal unemployment benefit and additional funds for the distribution of vaccines.
The bill plans to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and stipulates $350 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments.
The key, however, is Congress, which must approve the proposal. Democrats have a majority in both houses, but in the Senate it is so tight that a tough legislative battle is expected.
Regarding China, the prestigious economist was much tougher during her hearing before the Senate Finance Committee than she was during her time at the head of the US central bank.
“We need to take on China’s abusive, unfair, and illegal practices,” she said, adding that the Asian giant was “erecting trade barriers” and “stealing intellectual property,” and called the country the US’ “most important strategic competitor.”
Yellen is the third Biden nominee to be confirmed by the Senate for a government position after Avril Haines as director of national Intelligence and General Lloyd Austin as defense secretary. EFE-EPA