Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Wednesday said the panel would consider President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, next week ahead of Inauguration Day.
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Grassley, R-Iowa, said the hearing for Yellen will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 19. To be confirmed, Yellen needs a simple 51-vote majority in the Senate.
When she was confirmed in 2014 as chair of the Federal Reserve, she received 26 "nays" from senators, 19 of whom are still in the upper chamber of Congress. There were 18 "not voting" – 12 of whom are still sitting senators – and only three lawmakers crossed party lines to vote in favor of her nomination: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Richard Burr of North Carolina.
Janet Yellen in 2017. (Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Yellen has a long history of serving under Democratic administrations, becoming the first woman to head the Central Bank after she was appointed by former President Barack Obama to help guide the U.S. economy following the 2008 financial crisis.
Yellen also previously served as the head of the Council of Economic Advisors under former President Bill Clinton.
A Brooklyn native, Yellen earned a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 1971 before rising through the ranks of academia. She served as president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank beginning in 2004 through 2010; in 2010, she was appointed as vice-chair of the Fed's board of governors in Washington.
The transition team is pressing the Senate to move ahead with confirmation for Biden's nominees before Inauguration Day — specifically his national security nominees, warning that the country’s security is “at stake.”
“They should be confirmed as close to Jan. 20 as possible,” Biden said last week. “There should be no vacancies at State, Defense, and Treasury and Homeland Security.”
The Biden team is making a heavy push for secretary of state nominee Anthony Blinken, homeland security secretary nominee Alejandro Mayorkas, director of national intelligence nominee Avril Haines and defense secretary nominee retired Gen. Lloyd Austin.
"Regardless of any developments, with our national security at stake, the pandemic costing thousands of lives every day, and our economy in a historic recession, there is absolutely no justification for Republicans to jeopardize the ability of the United States government to keep the American people safe, distribute vaccines, and put Americans back to work," Biden transition spokesman Andrew Bates told Fox News.
"Many of these respected, qualified, crisis-tested nominees were announced in November, many have been previously confirmed, and their paperwork has been submitted," Bates continued. "We look forward to continuing to work with both parties in good faith on timely confirmations."
Grassley said the committee will follow coronavirus guidelines developed in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the Senate Rules Committee to help protect the help of members, witnesses, staff and the public.
Those attending the hearing will be required to maintain a six-foot social distance, but Grassley said members can also join the hearing via video conference.