US President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Treasury Department said her policies would focus on getting everyday Americans to revive the pandemic-hit American economy.
“The focus right now is on providing relief and helping families keep a roof over their heads and food on the table and not raising taxes,” Janet Yellen said Tuesday during her Senate confirmation hearings.
“I think we need to get through these dark times before the vaccination program enables us to get back to life as we knew it,” she added.
While Biden is in favor of increasing taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans to fund more than $2 trillion in stimulus packages that focus on unemployment, Yellen said it should come in a “fair way” and added, “We need to think about taxes in the context of a package that aims to do those things.”
“Right now, short-term, I feel that we can afford what it takes to get the economy back on its feet to get us through the pandemic and to relieve the burdens that it’s placing on households and small businesses,” she said.
Biden unveiled last week a $1.9 trillion relief bill that also features COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution. A second package is expected to be unveiled in February.
If confirmed, Yellen will become the first woman to fill the post as Treasury Secretary and said she will “focus on the needs of American workers, those living in cities and rural areas, and to make sure that we have a competitive economy that offers good jobs and good wages.”
Unlike outgoing President Donald Trump who supported a weak dollar to increase American competitiveness in global markets, Yellen said she is against it, and criticized other countries manipulating their currencies and targeting exchange rates.
Yellen’s predecessor Steven Mnuchin has spent most of his time dealing with a trade conflict with China, but Yellen retained the same critical tone, especially on intellectual property rights and technology transfers.
“We need to take on China’s abusive, unfair and illegal practices. China is undercutting American companies by dumping products, erecting trade barriers and giving illegal subsidies to corporations,” she said.