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Senate confirms Janet Yellen as first female Treasury secretary

Senate confirms Janet Yellen as first female Treasury secretary
The Senate voted 84-15 to approve President Joe Biden's nomination of Janet Yellen for Treasury secretary, making her the first woman to serve in the Cabinet position. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as the first woman to head the Treasury Department on Monday.

In an 84-15 vote lawmakers approved Yellen to serve as Treasury secretary as Congress moves to weigh in on President Joe Biden's cabinet selections while bracing for the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

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Yellen previously received unanimous approval from the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called on his fellow senators to approve her nomination before the vote.

"Tonight, the Senate can deliver an especially important economic judgment: Confirm Janet Yellen a fifth time and know that she will work with every single one of us to get our workers, our small businesses and all Americans from sea to shining sea back on solid economic footing," he said.

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As Treasury secretary, Yellen will head up the administration's efforts to support Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus program, which she highlighted as a primary goal during her confirmation hearing.

"The pandemic has caused widespread devastation," she said. "The damage has been sweeping and ... our response must be, too."

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Yellen, who was the first woman to serve as chair of the Federal Reserve, also said the Biden administration must be able to provide coronavirus relief before turning to other issues such as rising debt.

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"Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big," she said.

Last week, the Senate director of national intelligence approved Biden's pick for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, hours after he was inaugurated.

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