Janet Yellen, nominated to be the next Treasury secretary, will tell lawmakers on Tuesday that the United States needs a robust fiscal stimulus program to get the pandemic-stricken economy back on track and that now is not the time to worry about the nation’s mounting debt burden.
“Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” Ms. Yellen will say, according to a copy of her opening remarks to the Senate Finance Committee reviewed by The New York Times.
Ms. Yellen is one of a handful of nominees of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. that will go before senators the day before Mr. Biden’s inauguration. Her confirmation hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Eastern.
The confirmation process for Ms. Yellen, a seasoned economist and central banker who served as chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, is expected to be a relatively smooth one.
“This is the worst economic crisis in 100 years, and nobody is better qualified than Secretary-designate Yellen to lead an economic recovery,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who will become the Finance Committee chairman when Democrats take control of the Senate.
And Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, currently Republican chairman of the Finance Committee, has spoken positively of Ms. Yellen since Mr. Biden picked her for the job.
Ms. Yellen, who was confirmed to be Fed chair by a Senate vote of 56 to 26, will likely face questions about America’s economic relationship with China, her position on sanctions policy as it relates to Iran and her thoughts on tax policy.
While helping to craft and oversee the Biden administration’s economic relief efforts will initially be her top priority, Ms. Yellen will also steer the government’s sprawling regulatory power over banks and the financial sector. At the hearing, she will be under pressure to show Democrats and progressive groups that she is ready to end what they view as the coddling of Wall Street by Steven Mnuchin, the outgoing Treasury secretary.
U.S. stock futures rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 index set to open 0.7 percent higher, before a Senate hearing where Janet Yellen, the incoming Biden administration’s pick for Treasury secretary, is expected to promote a vigorous fiscal response to the pandemic.
Most Asian stocks closed higher, with the Nikkei 225 in Japan up 1.4 percent. European stocks were more mixed. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.1 percent with health care stocks performing the strongest. U.S. markets were closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King’s Birthday holiday.
Ms. Yellen, the…
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