WASHINGTON - Janet Yellen already shattered a glass ceiling when she became the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve during the Obama Administration. If she has her way, she’ll shatter another Monday when the Senate votes on her confirmation as the next Treasury secretary.
With their approval, Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Treasury — joining the ranks of Alexander Hamilton and 76 other men.
On the campaign trail, President Joe Biden promised a diverse administration — one that would "look like America." He also kept his promise to name a woman his running mate when he picked Kamala Harris.
On Wednesday, Senators confirmed Avril Haines as the director of national intelligence, the first woman to lead the agency in its 15-year existence. And on Friday, the Senate voted 93-2 to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to be the secretary of defense, the first Black man to hold that office.
Yellen’s nomination to lead the Treasury is yet another step towards filling Biden’s vision.
On Friday, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously voted to advance Yellen’s nomination to a vote on the Senate floor. Now her fate is in the hands of a final vote from the full Senate.
Earlier in the week, she told the committee Americans faced a "longer, more painful recession" unless Washington took action swiftly on the next COVID-19 package.
She pledged support to an economic aid package that would provide a third round of stimulus checks, with an additional $1,400 coming to most Americans making less than $75,000 a year.
Yellen acknowledged such a measure would add to the country's rising debt but said the Biden Administration feels fighting the pandemic-recession took precedent.
"Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big," she said. "In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time."
Republican Senators expressed policy disagreements with Yellen, such as raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy. But they agreed it was important to allow Biden to assemble his economic team quickly.
This story was reported from Atlanta. The Associated Press contributed.