Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need To Confirm Yellen And Other Biden Cabinet Nominees Including Mayorkas And Praising The Biden Treasury Department For Moving Forward With Tubman $20 Bill

January 25, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the need to confirm Janet Yellen today as Secretary of the Treasury and praising the Biden Treasury Department for resuming work to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Senator Schumer also stressed the need to confirm President Biden’s nominees to be Secretary of Homeland Security, State, and Transportation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

This week, the Senate will continue confirming President Biden’s highly-qualified and history-making cabinet nominees. In a few hours, we will hold a vote on Janet Yellen to serve as the next Secretary of the Treasury.

Janet Yellen, of course, is no stranger to this chamber. She’s been confirmed by the Senate no fewer than four times, and was reported favorably to the floor by a unanimous vote of the Finance committee on Friday. The bipartisan support for Ms. Yellen’s multiple nominations reflect her breathtaking range of experience, and just how well suited she is to manage the economic challenges of our time.

Ms. Yellen—I’m proud to report—is a native of working-class Brooklyn, the daughter of a school teacher and a physician raised during the Great Depression. She went to Fort Hamilton High School, one of James Madison High School’s rivals. A graduate of Brown and Yale, Ms. Yellen has taught economics at some of the world’s most prestigious universities. Of course, Janet Yellen is best known for her tenure as Chair of the Federal Reserve, overseeing a period of falling unemployment and steady economic recovery from the global financial crisis. Few people possess the experience and expertise that Janet Yellen would bring to the Treasury, particularly during this moment of economic crisis.

At the Treasury Department, there are long hallways on the third floor where the portraits of all 77 Treasury Secretaries hang—all of them men, all the way back to Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary. I am thrilled today to vote to confirm the first woman to ever hold the position of Treasury Secretary, and someday add her portrait to that hallway.

On that note, I would add that it was a great pleasure to read the Biden Administration’s announcement today the Treasury Department intends to speed up the plans to add the portrait of Harriet Tubman to the $20 bill. This is an issue I have long championed, and something that should have been done a long time ago. I feel particularly strong about it since Harriet Tubman was an Auburn, NY resident, and our office worked for years to successfully make her home in Upstate New York a national historic monument.

And I’m glad the Biden Administration is reversing the Trump Administration’s foot-dragging. This is the kind of things they did. No excuse, no reason—they just didn’t do it. But now the Biden Administration is reversing the Trump Administration's foot-dragging and will press forward with plans to circulate new currency celebrating Harriet Tubman’s life and legacy.

Now after Ms. Yellen’s confirmation tonight, the Senate will continue to process nominations to President Biden’s Cabinet: the Secretaries of State, Homeland Security, and Transportation. With cooperation, the Senate could complete each of their confirmations this week. Again: those are the Secretaries of State, Homeland Security, and Transportation in addition to Treasury this evening.

I’d remind my colleagues that President Trump had his Secretary of Homeland Security installed on Inauguration Day. We cannot allow our national security, our domestic security, to be compromised in any way by the prolonged delay of Mr. Mayorkas’ nomination.

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