CHN: Hearings Begin on President Biden’s Cabinet Picks

On Friday, Jan. 22, the Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously to send the confirmation of Janet Yellen, President Biden’s nominee to be Treasury Secretary, to the full Senate. The Senate is expected to vote on the nomination on Monday, Jan. 25. Advocates can watch a recording of the Jan. 19 committee hearing here. As the Treasury Secretary, Yellen would play a key role in guiding the nation’s economic recovery. The Department of the Treasury also administers several housing and community development programs including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, the Making Home Affordable program, and Community Development Financial Institutions.

In her prepared statement, Yellen said of President Biden’s proposed American Rescue Plan, “[T]he smartest thing we can do is act big. 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…. We have to rebuild our economy so that it creates more prosperity for more people and ensures that American workers can compete in an increasingly competitive global economy.” During the hearing, Yellen – who has been confirmed by the Senate five times previously for other positions, including chair of the Federal Reserve – voiced her support for President Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, including boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. “More must be done,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later.” Yellen is expected to receive swift bipartisan support from the Senate, making her the first female Treasury Secretary.

Hearings were also held last week in various Senate committees for President Biden’s picks for secretaries of the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Defense, and Transportation. All nominees to the cabinet must be confirmed by a simple majority of the Senate. The Senate has already confirmed the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense.