Key House Democrat 'delighted' by Biden nomination of Yellen for Treasury secretary

Jessica Smith
·Chief Political Correspondent
·2-min read

Rep. Richard Neal (D., Mass.) is “thrilled” about the prospect of former Fed Chair Janet Yellen becoming Treasury Secretary. The Wall Street Journal first reported President-elect Biden would choose Yellen for the job, though Biden has not yet made an official announcement.

“I was delighted,” said Neal of the reported nomination. “I do think there’s something to be said for institutional memory.”

In addition to her time at the Federal Reserve, Yellen served as Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors during the Clinton administration.

If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will play a key role in the Biden administration’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic. Neal, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has already turned to Yellen for guidance on the economic downturn. He said he took her perspective into consideration when lawmakers were working on the CARES Act earlier this year.

“She couldn't have been any better with her thoughts,” said Neal. “I think that Speaker Pelosi and I both took earnestly and seriously what she had to say — and in both instances about liquidity and demand, she was very assertive about getting money into the hands of the people who needed it immediately.”

FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2017 file photo, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington. When Yellen leaves the Federal Reserve this weekend after four years as chair, her legacy will include being the first woman to have led the world's most powerful central bank. She will be remembered, too, for her achievements in deftly steering the Fed’s role in the U.S. economy’s rebound from a crushing financial crisis and recession. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
In this Dec. 13, 2017 file photo, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Neal told Yahoo Finance Yellen, who testified in front of the House in July on the federal government’s economic recovery efforts, also helped shape his thoughts and ideas about tax policy. Attempts to implement Biden’s tax agenda will start with Neal and the House Ways and Means Committee.

When asked about Biden’s proposals to raise taxes on the richest Americans and corporations, Neal said he needs to speak with Yellen before deciding how and when to move forward in the committee.

“Timing on these sorts of considerations in an economic downturn — seeking new revenue — that would be a bit of a challenge,” said Neal.

Neal called Yellen a “mainstream economic thinker” and said there could be opportunity for both parties to find common ground on issues, including expanding the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, infrastructure and keeping women in the workforce.

Jessica Smith is a reporter for Yahoo Finance based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaASmith8.

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