Senate confirms Janet Yellen as Treasury chief

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) —The U.S. Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as the first woman Treasury secretary on Monday.

Yellen, who served as Federal Reserve chair from 2014 to 2018, was approved on an 84-15 vote on the Senate floor Monday evening.

At her confirmation hearing last week, Yellen told senators that the Biden-Harris administration would focus on winning quick passage of its $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for most Americans. It also would temporarily prohibit evictions, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and help meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration.

“More must be done,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later.”

She urged lawmakers to “act big,” saying that the benefits outweigh the costs of a higher debt burden.

“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,” she said.

Democrats have voiced support for the Biden proposal while Republicans questioned spending nearly $2 trillion more on top of nearly $3 trillion that Congress passed in various packages last year.

Republicans questioned elements of the Biden proposal such as providing an additional $1,400 stimulus check to individuals earning less than $75,000. They also objected to the inclusion of such long-term Democratic goals as boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.