Janet Yellen was confirmed by the US Senate in a bipartisan vote to lead the Treasury Department. Yellen was confirmed by an 84-15 margin on Monday.
The confirmation marks the third member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet to be confirmed by the Senate. All three of Biden’s cabinet have been historic. Yellen is set to be the first female head of the Treasury Department. Last week, Avril Haines became the first female director of national intelligence. Lloyd Austin became the first Black person to head the Pentagon.
The 74-year-old Yellen was previously the chair of the Federal Reserve.
Yellen was actively involved in developing the president’s proposed stimulus package, which includes $1,400 checks to most Americans. During her confirmation hearing, Yellen urged senators to pass Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package.
Neither Biden “nor I proposed this relief package without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden,” Yellen said. “But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big. In the long run, I believe the benefits will far out way the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.”
Yellen also urged the federal minimum wage to double to $15. In late 2019, the Congressional Budget Office released projections on the impact if minimum wage increased to $15 an hour. The data found that while an increased minimum wage would likely lift some workers out of poverty, it would cause increased joblessness.
“Right now we have millions of American workers who are putting their lives on the line to keep their communities functioning, and sometimes even working multiple jobs, aren’t earning enough to put food on the table and a roof over their heads,” Yellen said.