President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury Secretary, the Wall Street Journal first reported Monday.
If she is nominated and confirmed, Yellen will be faced with the task of stabilizing an American economy that is reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic amid ongoing gridlock over stimulus legislation in Washington.
She’s seen as a middle-of-the-road pick: conservative enough for Republicans but liberal enough for Democrats.
Last week, Biden said that his pick for Treasury Secretary would be “someone who will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party, from the progressive to the moderate coalitions.”
Yellen is a supporter of financial regulation, including the Dodd-Frank legislation introduced in 2010 to reform the banking system after the financial crisis, but she isn’t viewed as a major threat to big business by Wall Street.
She’s also pushed for additional stimulus measures during the coronavirus crisis, telling Bloomberg TV last month that “we need support for the economy from both monetary and fiscal policy” in addition to more effective public health measures to control the virus.
Yellen was the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank and the first woman to head the White House Council of Economic Advisors. If she is nominated and confirmed by the Senate as Treasury Secretary, she’ll also be the first woman to serve in that role.
Yellen has also served as the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco as well as the Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve. She was appointed by President Obama to head the Federal Reserve in 2014, and was succeeded by Jerome Powell in 2018 after President Trump declined to reappoint her when her term ended. The Washington Post reported that year that Trump’s advisors had encouraged him to choose his own appointee for the job, and that Trump had expressed concerns to aides that Yellen was not tall enough to run the U.S. central bank (she is 5 feet tall), the Post reported. Yellen went on to a role as a fellow at the Brookings Institution after her tenure at the Fed.
Robert Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, cheered Biden’s pick. “She’s not @SenWarren but she’s not from the Street,” he wrote on Twitter.
Biden has already lined up a number of high profile hires for his new administration. On Monday he announced his intention to nominate Avril Haines as the the first female Director of National Intelligence and Alejandro Mayorkas as the first Latino head of the Department of Homeland Security. Biden will also nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, and appoint Jake Sullivan as his national security advisor.