President-Elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury Secretary, sources told The Post.
If confirmed, the 74-year-old Yellen will be the first woman to run the Treasury Department, and also the first person ever to hold the top three economic positions in American government.
In addition to serving as chair of the Federal Reserve under President Barack Obama — the first woman to hold that office as well — Yellen previously served as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers in the Clinton Administration.
With her Washington experience, Yellen is viewed as a politically safe choice having been confirmed to run the Fed by many of the same senators that will vote on her for Treasury. Her pick is also a signal that the Biden administration will move on passing more fiscal stimulus to offset the crippling economic effects of the coronavirus.
Wall Street appeared to applaud the choice as the Dow Jones industrial average shot up more than 130 points after news broke that Yellen had been selected.
“Say what you will about Janet Yellen, but the markets will rejoice if she’s the pick,” said one market analyst Monday morning. “She’s a stabilizing pick that understands how to deal with the Fed and Biden trusts her. Plus, she’ll get more stimulus.”
The finance sector was abuzz most of the day Monday with rumors that Yellen was the choice. Multiple insiders told The Post that Wall Street was already pricing in Yellen’s selection, with one calling her nomination “a stone-cold lock” early in the day.
“If this had been a surprise, the Dow would not have moved like that,” said one trader, adding with a chortle that “If it had been [Senator Elizabeth] Warren, it would have dropped.”
Warren had been seen as a potential pick for the job, but the Senate seems poised to remain in GOP control, making her difficult nomination process a near impossibility.
Yellen’s closest competition appears to have been Fed Governor Lael Brainard, but progressives are said to have seen her as too close to Wall Street. According to multiple reports on Monday, Biden allies have told Brainard to stay at the Fed where she will be a top choice to replace Jay Powell when his term ends in Feb. 2022.
Overall, the tone on Wall Street was measured excitement that Yellen could be taking the reins at the Treasury Department.
“She’s the pick, and that’s fine with me,” said one hedge fund manager. “This is not a time be screwing around with a statement pick. I might not agree with her on everything, but she’s an adult and she can do the job.”