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Senate Advances Biden Cabinet Confirmations; Janet Yellen Confirmed as Treasury Secretary

  • January 29, 2021

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

Cabinet nominations for the Biden Administration are advancing in a closely divided Senate. On Jan. 25, former Fed Chair Janet Yellen was confirmed (84-15) by the full chamber as the first female U.S. Treasury Secretary after the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved her nomination last week. (Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 22)

  • Members of the Finance Committee asked Dr. Yellen about the potential for tax increases under the new Administration.  She responded in writing, “President Biden has proposed an array of reforms that would ensure the wealthiest taxpayers and corporations pay their fair share. These and other proposals will be further developed as part of the budget process.”

  • In addition to the former Fed Chair’s testimony, her responses to written questions for the record are available here

  • Secretary Yellen is expected to play an important role in negotiations with Congress over COVID-19 relief, support President Biden’s efforts to encourage clean energy jobs, and work closely with current Fed Chair Jerome Powell on bolstering an economic recovery. (The Hill, Jan. 29 and NBC News, Jan. 25)

  • Yellen also said she will establish a new “hub” at Treasury that will examine financial system risks arising from climate change and on related tax policy incentives. (Politico, Jan. 25)

  • Other Biden cabinet nominations of interest to commercial real estate include:
Pete Buttigieg


Secretary of Transportation -- Pete Buttigieg
, photo above
The former mayor of South Bend, IN was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee on Jan. 27 and the full Senate has scheduled a vote on his nomination on Feb. 2. Buttigieg made urban development and economic revitalization cornerstones of his mayoral service. (Reuters, Jan. 27)

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-- Michael Regan
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a confirmation hearing on Biden’s nomination of Regan to be EPA administrator on Feb. 3. (Bloomberg Law, July 27)  He currently leads North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, and if confirmed will have a major role on shaping the Biden Administration’s reponse to the climate crisis.

Secretary of Energy – Jennifer Granholm
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm had her confirmation hearing on Jan. 27 before the Senate Energy Committee. As governor, she supported policies for electric cars, energy efficiency, and renewable energy deployment.

Secretary of Commerce – Gina Raimondo
The Senate Commerce Committee held a Jan. 26 confirmation hearing to consider Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo for Commerce Secretary. Gov. Raimondo spoke at The Roundtable’s 2020 State of the Industry Meeting about her efforts to build more affordable housing, along with her support for Opportunity Zone tax incentives. (Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 31, 2020)

Secretary of Homeland Security – Alejandro Mayorkas
The Senate will vote on the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to lead DHS on Feb. 1, after he was approved by the chamber’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Jan. 26.  A former Obama Administration official, if confirmed he will help shape the Biden Administration’s policies on matters such as immigration and cybersecurity. (The Hill, Jan. 28)

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Marcia Fudge
The Senate Banking Committee on Jan. 28 held a hearing on the nomination of Marcia Fudge to lead HUD.  Rep. Fudge (D-OH) is former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. During her nomination hearing, she told the committee that $25 billion in rental assistance approved by Congress at year-end was “not enough.” (NPR, Jan. 28)

A full listing of other cabinet nominees and senior roles in the Biden Administration is provided by The Wall Street Journal.

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