Kemi Osukoya

January 22, 2021


Democrat Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon on Friday urged Senate members to move expeditiously to confirm former U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as the next U.S. Secretary of Treasury.

Speaking on the Senate floor shortly after the Senate Committee on Finance unanimously approved Yellen’s nomination with 26 votes, Sen. Wyden urged the House to move to vote to confirm. “I think given the urgency of the economic challenge our country faces in a truly perilous economic time, I would very much like to work with all my colleagues on the [Senate] floor to find a way today to bring up Chair Yellen for confirmation to be our Secretary of Treasury,” urged Sen. Wyden.

Senate members are expected to vote later this afternoon. If confirmed, Yellen, 74, will be first female Secretary of Treasury. 

“I have seen times around here in the Senate when you come away convinced you couldn’t get 26 to nothing among senators to buy a soda,” Sen. Wyden said referring to the unanimous votes that Yellen received from the Committee. “The fact is Janet Yellen has been confirmed by this body, four times. She really belongs in the Senate confirmation Hall of Fame and the reason that she has been confirmed all of these times is because of what we saw at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday. She did a superb job. After the hearing, she responded to hundreds of questions in a substantive way that came from colleagues and has made a real commitment to transparency.”

During her confirmation hearing on Tuesday with members of the Committee, Yellen told the Committee that the “we need to strengthen our economy, we need to take on China’s abusive and unfair practices.” She said she will be focused from day one on “American workers, on women, and getting relief to struggling Americans.” To address the many challenges facing America, she said the U.S. will need to invest in infrastructure, research and development and in reskilling of American workers.

“We were living in a K-Shaped economy way before COVID-19 pandemic,” she told the Committee on Tuesday.

Yellen also noted that climate change crisis is “one of the most critical issues facing our country and poses existential threat to the economy. We need to invest on renewable energy and promote electric vehicles.”

In a bipartisan move, Senators Wyden, Grassley and Crapo worked closely together with other members of the Committee to approve Yellen’s nomination and moved her for Senate confirmation, a testament to Yellen’s excellent record in public service.

Sen. Wyden thanked “Senators Grassley and Crapo for working very closely with me and Senate Democrats to achieve this remarkable vote this morning. And I want to say I very much appreciate the conciliatory way this was discussed today. And I really hope that the Senate can vote on her nomination,” said Sen. Wyden.

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