WILMINGTON, Del./WASHINGTON – – President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as US Treasury secretary, breaking a 231-year gender barrier and putting a seasoned economist and labor market expert in charge of leading the country out of the steepest downturn since the Great Depression.
The move, confirmed by Democratic allies to the Biden campaign, will shift Treasury’s focus heavily toward progressive efforts to tackle growing economic inequality and fighting climate change and away from the Trump administration’s pre-pandemic emphasis on cutting taxes and easing financial regulations.
Yellen, 74, brings Biden decades of economic policy experience and is respected by Congress, international finance officials, progressives and business interests alike.
She has called for opening fiscal spending taps to revive an economy wracked by the coronavirus pandemic and would be the first person to head the Treasury, the Fed and the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
The post will present a host of new challenges for Yellen, whose policymaking experience in the past 20 years has largely centered on monetary – rather than fiscal – policy. For one, it means a far more political role than that she played in her long career at the Fed, an institution that goes to great lengths to distance itself from partisan politics.
A spokesman for Biden’s transition team declined to comment. Yellen, reached by phone, also declined to comment.