Biden team considers former Fed chief Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary: report

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is under consideration to be President-elect Joe Biden’s Treasury Secretary, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Yellen has reportedly withdrawn from at least one upcoming speaking engagement because she is now in contention for the role, according to an individual familiar with the matter.

The consideration of Yellen comes as Biden has comitted to picking a diverse cabinet. If Yellen were chosen, she would be the first female to hold the Treasury Secretary position in U.S. history.

Yellen already made history back in 2014 when she became the nation’s first female chair of the Federal Reserve, replacing Ben Bernanke. In addition to serving as Federal Reserve chair from 2014-2018, Yellen previously served as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2010-2014, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 2004-2010, and chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors from 1997-1999. She currently is a Distinguished Fellow in Residence with the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, as well as an adviser to the Magellan Group.

A spokesperson for the Brookings Institution did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment.

In this Aug. 14, 2019, file photo former Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks with FOX Business Network guest anchor Jon Hilsenrath in the Fox Washington bureau in Washington. Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was among a team of advisers who
Yellen previously met with Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris back in August as part of a group of economic experts who offered economic guidance on the coronavirus-induced recession.

A spokesperson for the Biden transition team declined to comment to FOX Business on who may or may not be under consideration for the role. About 41% of the Biden transition team’s senior staff are people of color and 46% of all staff are people of color. Meanwhile, 53% of senior staff are women and 52% of all staff are women.

“For months, the Biden-Harris transition has laid the groundwork for a Biden-Harris administration, and at the core of that work is an unrelenting commitment to diversity,” Ted Kaufman, Co-Chair, Biden-Harris Transition told FOX Business in a statement. “As we continue working full-speed ahead to Inauguration, our diverse group of leaders and staff are reflective of America — upholding President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris’ belief that through diverse voices we can develop and implement a policy vision to tackle our nation’s toughest challenges.”

Other candidates reportedly on the short list include Fed Governor Lael Brainard and former Fed Vice Chair Roger Ferguson.

Yellen, who recently told Reuters that the Biden administration could potentially adopt a tax on carbon emissions to tackle climate change, is expected to attract support from more progressive Democratic lawmakers.

“There really is a new kind of recognition that you’ve got a society where capitalism is beginning to run amok and needs to be readjusted in order to make sure that what we’re doing is sustainable and the benefits of growth are widely shared in ways they haven’t been,” Yellen said. “What I see is a growing recognition on both sides of the aisle that climate change is a very serious concern and that action needs to occur.”

Yellen has been working with a group of Republicans, Democrats and companies known as the Climate Leadership Council on a proposal to tax climate-warming carbon emissions to encourage companies to shift away from fossil fuels. The plan aims to halve carbon emissions by 2035 from 2005 levels with a tax starting at $40 per ton.

“I do see Republican support, and not only Democrat support, for an approach that would involve a carbon tax with redistribution,” Yellen added. “It’s not politically impossible.”

Although the move would make products like gasoline more expensive, the plan is estimated to return dividends to families of about $2,000 in the first year.

In addition, Yellen called on Congress to renew the $600 per week unemployment insurance payments from the early days of the pandemic.

“I think, frankly, it would be a catastrophe not to extend unemployment insurance,” Janet Yellen told members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis during a remote hearing Friday.

She also urged lawmakers to make sure “complementary programs like food stamps” are “adequately funded,” and said the federal government should invest more in public health.