Janet Yellen became the first woman to head the U.S. Treasury Department on Monday, a historic appointment that will position her to promptly work on President Joe Biden’s economic agenda, which aims to further the recovery and offer relief to Americans devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yellen, the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve during her tenure from 2014 to 2018, was confirmed by the Senate on Monday afternoon.
She is the first person to head the Treasury, Federal Reserve and the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
“As Treasury secretary, who is fifth in the presidential line of succession, Yellen will oversee everything from tax collection to public-debt management to the implementation of international sanctions,” Lindsey M. Piegza, chief economist at Stifel, said in a note. “Near term, however, the most pressing component of the job will be oversight and management of the economic recovery.”
“I think she’ll bring a little calm,” says Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond and an expert on congressional politics.
Yellen brings a longstanding bias toward fighting unemployment, but also a reputation as a consensus builder who can bring together opposing factions.
“She’s a moderate and a centrist,” says Jeffrey Bergstrand, a finance professor at the University of Notre Dame and a former Fed economist.