Janet Yellen, Secretary of Treasury

Janet Yellen

Secretary of Treasury

Janet Louise Yellen was born in August 1946 in Brooklyn, New York. She earned an undergraduate degree in economics with honors from Pembroke College in Brown University. She received a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University.

She was appointed assistant professor of economics at Harvard University where she taught for six years. She was recruited to become an economist with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and was assigned to research international monetary reform. She met her husband while she was at the Fed, and he had already accepted a teaching position at the London School of Economics. Yellen left her position at the Fed to accompany him and was employed as an economics lecturer by the London School. They returned to the U.S. two years later, and Yellen joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct macroeconomics research and teach MBA and undergraduate students. She remains a professor emerita at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Yellen was appointed by President Bill Clinton as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. She was confirmed by the Senate and served in that position for 30 months. She left that post to become chair of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. At the end of the Clinton Administration, she returned to Berkeley.

In 2004, Yellen was chosen as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco and was a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee. In 2010, President Obama nominated Yellen as vice-chair of the Federal Reserve Board of governors. She was confirmed by a voice vote of the Senate. Three years later, she was nominated to be Chair of the Federal Reserve.

After eight years, Yellen joined the Brookings Institution think tank as a distinguished fellow in residence.

She was nominated to be the Secretary of the Treasury by then president-elect Joe Biden. Confirmed by the Senate, she is the first woman to hold that position. The Senate confirmed her in an 84-15 vote on January 25, 2021.

She is married to George Akerlof and they have one child. She is Jewish.

In the News…

Being an advocate of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, during her confirmation hearings before the Senate Finance Committee, said, “Neither the president-elect, nor I, propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden. But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big. In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.”

She said economists agree that the federal government needs to enact more virus relief. “Economists don’t always agree,” she said, “but I think there is a consensus now. Without further action, we risk  a longer, more painful recession now—and longer-term scarring of the economy later.”

She also said that the Treasury Department would have a “dual mission” of helping Americans manage during the pandemic and rebuild the economy so that “it creates more prosperity for more people.”

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Secretary Yellen today? You can let her know at:

The Honorable Janet Yellen
Secretary of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20220


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