U.S. President-elect Joe Biden named several women to his top economic policy team on Monday, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary nominee, setting the stage for diversity and a focus on recovery from the pandemic.
The advisers, several of whom would need to be approved by the U.S. Senate, come from liberal research organizations and worked in previous Democratic administrations. Their aim will be to set policies that can help people and businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 267,000 people in the United States and cost millions of jobs.
“This team looks like America and brings seriousness of purpose, the highest degree of competency, and unwavering belief in the promise of America,” Biden said in a statement. “They will be ready on day one to get to work for all Americans.”
Biden is expected to formally introduce the new economic team members on Tuesday, the transition team said.
Arizona and Wisconsin on Monday certified Biden as the winner in each state, further undermining President Donald Trump’s attempts to dispute his loss to Biden in the Nov. 3 election by making unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
The confirmation of vote counts is usually a mere formality but has taken on added significance this year in the face of Trump’s baseless allegations that the election was “rigged” in Biden’s favor.
Most of the battleground states that Biden won, including Pennsylvania and Georgia, previously certified their results. Together with the results from states where the outcome is not in dispute, Biden has secured enough votes in the state-by-state Electoral College to win the presidency.
The Trump campaign is pursuing long-shot legal cases that seek to overturn Biden’s victories in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, while others have been dismissed or withdrawn in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona. None has scored significant gains for Trump.
Yellen, 74, was head of the U.S. central bank from 2014 to 2018 and served as the chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers.
On Twitter, she underscored the challenges facing the United States: “To recover, we must restore the American dream — a society where each person can rise to their potential and dream even bigger for their children. As Treasury Secretary, I will work every day towards rebuilding that dream for all.”
Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said Yellen’s confirmation hearing should occur before Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, as it did for Steven Mnuchin, the current Treasury secretary.
“When millions of workers are unemployed through no fault of their own and sectors of the economy are struggling mightily, there is no excuse for delay,” Wyden said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who like many top Republicans in that chamber has not yet acknowledged Biden as president-elect, did not respond to questions about pre-inauguration hearings. His colleagues have signaled that Biden’s appointees may face a rough road to confirmation.
Control of the Senate – and the power to confirm or block Biden’s Cabinet appointees – will be determined by a pair of runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5.
The Electoral College meets on Dec. 14. Biden has 306 electors, far more than the required 270, to Trump’s 232.