GOP lawmakers offer differing opinions on Biden nominee Janet Yellen

Tim O'Donnell

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Treasury Department, Janet Yellen, is considered well-respected in Republican circles, despite sparring with GOP lawmakers on occasion during her tenure as a Federal Reserve official. That respect has already made itself evident — Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement Tuesday that while he'll work against Biden's economic agenda, he believes Yellen "demonstrated her intellect, foresight, and independence during the financial crisis, and throughout her term as Fed Chair," indicating he's satisfied with Biden's choice.

Still, McHenry is in the House, so he won't have a confirmation vote. But Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the outgoing Senate Finance Committee chair, said he anticipates Yellen "would get a favorable view," with the caveat that the committee will need to do their due diligence before making a final judgment.

If the Democrats pick up the two up-for-grabs Senate seats in Georgia, Yellen will almost certainly be confirmed. But even with a Republican majority, if just a handful of GOP senators feel similarly to Grassley and McHenry, it appears she'll get through the process.

There will likely be some holdouts, though. For instance, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) suggested Yellen's selection was another example of Biden choosing "a bunch of corporate liberals and warmongers" for his cabinet. This view was criticized, however, with observers noting that Yellen has spent most of her career in academia and public service.

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