Joe Biden promised a diverse Cabinet and is beginning to deliver. The president-elect of the USA will nominate Janet Yellen, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, as Secretary of the Treasury. Yellen will become the first woman in holding the position in the 231 years of existence of the US Treasury.
Biden has not yet made an official announcement of the appointment, which was advanced by ‘The Wall Street Journal’ and which the major US media take for granted.
Biden assured last week that his election would be a person “who will be accepted by all currents of the Democratic party, both progressive and moderate.” It is very likely that Yellen, although has followed a centrist line, be seen with good eyes by the party and even by a good number of Republicans.
At 74, she has extensive experience as a prestigious regulator and economist and headed the main US financial regulator, the Federal Reserve, between 2014 and 2018. Donald Trump did not keep up the tradition of the last three presidents of the Fed were re-elected to the post by the White House and replaced by Jerome Powell, with whom Yellen has a good relationship.
The next Secretary of the Treasury will come to office at a troubled moment, after an economic stoppage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that has squandered much of the economic success of the Trump presidency and with the expectation that winter will bring more restrictions . His first task will be to negotiate the new aid packages for the coronavirus, after they have been blocked in Congress by the growing polarization between Democrats and Republicans.
At the head of the Fed, he navigated the great economic recovery after the 2008-2010 crisis with caution and was criticized for not accelerating the rate hike at a faster pace, but his decisions were the basis of the strong growth in activity and employment in the final stretch of the Obama Administration and in the first three years of that of Trump.
Then, its role as a regulator allowed it to maintain independence in the face of government pressure. Now he will have to stick to implementing Biden’s economic policy and fighting with Congress.