All former living treasury secretaries urge swift confirmation of Janet Yellen

All former living U.S. Treasury Secretaries on Tuesday signed the letter below urging the United States Senate to confirm President-elect Biden’s Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen.  

“We write today to encourage the swift confirmation of Dr. Janet Yellen as the 78th United States Secretary of the Treasury. Our nation faces urgent economic and national security challenges, and we believe that delaying the confirmation of our government’s principal economic official would create unnecessary risk during this critical time,” said the letter signed by George P. Shultz, James A. Baker III, Robert E. Rubin, Lawrence H. Summers, John W. Snow, Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Timothy F. Geithner and Jacob J. Lew.

“Unprecedented economic conditions have created immense hardship and threaten to further undermine our security and prosperity. With millions of Americans out of work, long-term unemployment rising, and activity stalled in large sectors of the economy, daunting challenges will face the incoming Administration. Addressing these pressing issues will require thoughtful engagement by the Department of the Treasury. Any gap in its leadership would risk setting back recovery efforts.”

Janet Yellen 
Janet Yellen

Read the full letter below:

We write today to encourage the swift confirmation of Dr. Janet Yellen as the 78th United States Secretary of the Treasury. Our nation faces urgent economic and national security challenges, and we believe that delaying the confirmation of our government’s principal economic official would create unnecessary risk during this critical time.

Unprecedented economic conditions have created immense hardship and threaten to further undermine our security and prosperity. With millions of Americans out of work, long-term unemployment rising, and activity stalled in large sectors of the economy, daunting challenges will face the incoming Administration. Addressing these pressing issues will require thoughtful engagement by the Department of the Treasury. Any gap in its leadership would risk setting back recovery efforts.

The Secretary of the Treasury also has a vital global role. As the chief economic diplomat for the United States, and an essential leader in international economic policy, the Secretary not only represents our nation to foreign governments and international bodies, but also can drive international cooperation to solve vexing global issues. Between the recent turmoil in the United States and the magnitude and urgency of international economic fallout from COVID-19, our allies are looking for reassurance that our country will be a trusted and reliable partner. Any delay in confirming Dr. Yellen will only allow concern and confusion to grow among our allies.

Beyond domestic and international economic leadership, the Secretary of the Treasury is also a critical participant in law enforcement and national security efforts. Treasury leads the country’s efforts to monitor and combat financial crimes, terrorist financing, and other illicit financial activity among state and non-state actors. The threats to our national security from those who seek to exploit financial systems or evade sanctions are real and require sustained attention. At a time when our nation’s adversaries are actively looking for national security vulnerabilities, any gaps in leadership at Treasury will only serve to embolden them.

Finally, a word about Dr. Yellen. As former Treasury Secretaries, we are well aware of the demands of the job and the steepness of the learning curve for new officials. It is our view – based on personal experience for many of us — that Dr. Yellen’s experience, knowledge, judgment, and character make her uniquely qualified for this role. Our assessment of her integrity and ability is widely shared, including by the Senate, which has confirmed her several times, including most recently in 2014, and before which she has regularly testified. It is hard to imagine a better prepared nominee to meet this great moment of need than Dr. Yellen. We urge the Senate Committee on Finance to move expeditiously to report her
nomination to the full Senate to allow a highly qualified public servant to take up her urgent
responsibilities.

Sincerely,

George P. Shultz

James A. Baker III

Robert E. Rubin

Lawrence H. Summers

John W. Snow

Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

Timothy F. Geithner

Jacob J. Lew

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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