Biden Expected to Pick Ex-Fed Chair Yellen as Treasury Secretary

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

(CN) — President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name Janet Yellen, former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, as his Treasury secretary, according to multiple reports. 

If named officially and confirmed, Yellen will be the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary. She figures to have a relatively easy time through the nomination process due to her amicable relationship with several lawmakers on the GOP side of the aisle. 

Yellen received 56 votes when she was confirmed as Fed chair in 2014, during Obama’s administration. Just 26 senators voting against confirmation. 

The news may be even more welcome to Republicans given Elizabeth Warren had been rumored to be in the running to head Treasury. 

Yellen is more of a centrist pick and is another indicator that Biden will run a centrist, moderate Democratic administration — bad news for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party who have long argued the majority of Americans are on their side. 

Yellen became the first woman to chair the Fed, leading the central bank through a turbulent period in the aftermath of the Great Recession. She insisted on keeping interest rates near zero to provide incentives to potential homebuyers and restore some stability to the depressed housing market. The dovish approach has been maintained by her successor Jerome Powell, who has kept interest rates low and occupies a similar philosophy about the relationship between unemployment and inflation. 

Historically, goosing the economy by keeping rates low turned off some economists because they said it would cause inflation. But the modern economy is less susceptible to inflation, a phenomenon some have referred to as the “Amazon Effect” because of the giant e-retailer’s ability to keep consumer prices sticky. 

Some thought Trump would keep Yellen due to his predilection for low interest rates, but he declined to nominate her to second four-year term and went with Powell instead. 

Powell also adopted Yellen’s emphasis on monetary policy that reduced the unemployment rate and consistently received praise from his immediate predecessor. 

Earlier in her political career, Yellen chaired the White House Council of Economic Advisors during the Bill Clinton administration. 

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