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CBK governor's heart-warming message to first female US Treasury secretary

By Fredrick Obura and Reuters | January 27th 2021
Governor Patrick Njoroge (L) and Janet Yellen (PHOTO: Twitter)

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge has sent a congratulatory message to incoming US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

The governor recorgnised Yellen as a great economist and human being who is a trailblazer for central bankers as well as women in finance.

Janet Yellen won overwhelming Senate confirmation as the first woman to lead the US Treasury on Monday, setting her quickly to work with Congress on coronavirus relief, reviewing U.S. sanctions policy, and strengthening financial regulation.

The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Yellen, with all opposition coming from Republicans, several of whom have expressed concerns about President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid plan, tax hikes, and other spending initiatives.

“Secretary Yellen’s confirmation shatters another glass ceiling,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said in a statement. “In a field dominated by men, it’s refreshing to finally see a woman leading the Treasury Department.”

The CBK governor wrote on Twitter “Thrilled by @JanetYellen‘s confirmation as the first female US Treasury secretary! A great economist and human being.A trailblazerr for central bankers as well as women in finance. Welcome back.”

Yellen, 74, made history in 2014 when she became the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve. A portrait of the economist and daughter of a Brooklyn, New York, family doctor will join those of 76 other secretaries in Treasury’s hallways, dating back to the first, Alexander Hamilton.

The White House had no immediate comment on when Yellen would be sworn in, or by whom.

She won the votes of 34 Republicans in a strong bipartisan vote, with a number of them pledging to work with her.

“I hope bipartisanship continues and we can work together on commonsense tax/fiscal policy for all Americans,” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley wrote on Twitter.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz congratulated Yellen and voiced hope that she could help lead progress on reaching an international agreement on digital taxation. He told Reuters: “Janet Yellen is a very impressive person.”

Yellen will play a key role in working with Congress on Biden’s coronavirus stimulus plans and on his pledges to invest $2 trillion in infrastructure, green energy projects, education, and research to boost American competitiveness.

Treasury will oversee Biden’s plans to help finance these initiatives by trying to persuade Congress to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 per cent from 21 per cent and increase taxes on Americans making over $400,000 a year.

Republicans have expressed concerns over the price tag and increased debt in a return to fiscal conservatism after running up deficits during Trump’s term with 2017 tax cuts and nearly $5 trillion in coronavirus spending.

Yellen told senators at her confirmation hearing last week that they needed to raise the minimum wage and “act big” on stimulus measures or risk a longer, more painful recession brought on by the pandemic.

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