News World Janet Yellen picked to be head of US Treasury – in a first for women
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Janet Yellen picked to be head of US Treasury – in a first for women

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US president-elect Joe Biden has rounded off his all-female White House communications team with a historic nomination.

On Tuesday (Australian time), Mr Biden nominated former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen for the post of treasury secretary in his administration.

If confirmed by the Senate, Ms Yellen would become the first person in US history to lead the Treasury Department.

Serving under her as deputy Treasury Secretary would be Nigerian-born Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, another barrier-breaking nominee who currently serves as president of the Obama Foundation in Chicago.

Mr Biden’s transition team also confirmed other economic posts, including Neera Tanden to head up the Office of Management and Budget.

Ms Tanden would become the first woman of colour and first South Asian American to serve as director of the office.

But she will likely face an uphill confirmation battle amid various disputes with Republicans.

A spokesman for Republican Senator John Cornyn was quoted by CNN as saying Ms Tanden “has an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators, whose votes she’ll need, stands zero chance of being confirmed”.

President-elect Joe Biden has picked Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, for the post of treasury secretary. Photo: Getty

The 50-year-old also faces detractors within her own party, though Democrats would ultimately be expected to fall in line.

Ms Tanden served as policy director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Before that, she served as legislative director in Clinton’s Senate office and deputy campaign manager and issues director for Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign.

Mr Biden also nominated Princeton economist Cecilia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

This puts another black woman in a high-profile role of Mr Biden’s top advisers, and would help Biden follow through on a promise of building a diverse cabinet.

As we get to work to control the virus, this is the team that will deliver immediate economic relief for the American people during this economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than ever,” Mr Biden said in a statement.

“This team is comprised of respected and tested groundbreaking public servants who will help the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and address the structural inequities in our economy.”

-with AAP