The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Janet Yellen as the next treasury secretary on Monday, which will give President Biden another member of his team he says he needs in place right away.
The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Ms. Yellen, who will be the first female U.S. Treasury Secretary.
Ms. Yellen, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, is Mr. Biden’s third major Cabinet-level nominee to win Senate confirmation.
The Senate voted last week to confirm Gen. Lloyd Austin as Defense secretary and Avril Haines as director of National Intelligence.
Ms. Yellen‘s nomination sailed through the Senate Finance Committee unanimously.
Republicans praised Ms. Yellen as competent and qualified, even as they signaled that they’ll likely disagree with many of the policies she will help shepherd on issues like taxes and trade.
“The simple fact is that, when the American people elect a president, and when that president selects qualified and mainstream people for key posts, the whole nation deserves for them to be able to assemble their team,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, one of 15 Republican no votes, said Mr. Biden and “woke commissars” running the government want to rig the system in the name of racial “equity.”
“Janet Yellen has served the public for many years, but I will not support nominees who’ve indicated they will advance Joe Biden’s divisive economic vision for our country,” Mr. Cotton said.
Ms. Yellen says Mr. Biden isn’t looking to immediately raise taxes, but that some tax hikes could be in store down the road.
In response to written questioning, she told the Senate Finance Committee that Mr. Biden won’t sign any new free trade agreements before the U.S. makes “major investments in American workers and our infrastructure.”
“Our economic recovery at home must be our top priority,” she said. “This does not mean that President Biden will not pursue a robust trade agenda.”
Ms. Yellen will be tasked with helping implement the portions of Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic package he manages to muscle through Congress.
Her confirmation hearing last week underscored that it will be a tough sell to get congressional Republicans to go along with major parts of Mr. Biden’s plan, including a hike in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.