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Tags: janet yellen | clout | joe biden | treasury secretary | inflation

Janet Yellen's Supporters Surprised by Her Lack of Clout

janet yellen speaks into a microphone
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks to journalists on the sidelines of a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations (G7) in Konigswinter near Bonn, western Germany, on May 18. (Ina Fassbender/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 26 May 2022 08:25 AM EDT

Amid soaring inflation and fears of a recession, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has surprised supporters by wielding less influence in the White House than her recent predecessors did, Politico is reporting.

Yellen is considered one of the world's preeminent economists. And her lack of clout comes despite the fact that she enjoyed celebrity status when she was first picked to join the Biden administration.

Politico pointed out that in key areas, including domestic tax policy, China, financial appointments, and the debt ceiling, the administration has turned to the National Economic Council rather than Yellen. At other times, she has been overruled by the White House.

The news outlet attributed the information to nearly two dozen sources, including current and former administration officials.

It noted the White House did not consult the Treasury Department on remarks President Joe Biden was preparing regarding the debt limit, and when the White House was deciding how to finance Biden's Build Back Better proposal, officials had discussions with members of Congress and not Yellen.

"You'd think on questions of macroeconomics that the president would want to hear from her and be influenced by her on every decision," said David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution. "It doesn't look like that's the case."

One administration official added: "Janet Yellen seems like this not-so-secret weapon. "If we haven't used her yet, are we ever going to utilize her?"

But White House officials insist that she plays a bigger role in the policy process than those in other departments. Politico said she is the only Cabinet secretary who always attends daily White House senior staff briefings.

Senior White House officials say Yellen is an indispensable member of the president's team.

"She's not the person who says the most in any given meeting; she's not the person who's as flashy and out there," said National Economic Council Director Brian Deese. "But when she speaks, whether it's around the Situation Room table … or with the chief of staff, with the president, her words and her perspective carry enormous weight."

Politico's sources note Biden has a tendency to rely on his longtime advisers, including chief of staff Ron Klain. But others say Yellen's Treasury team hasn't been aggressive enough in helping her stake out territory.

"I think she has something that few in Washington have," former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said. "There's no one in the world who doesn't trust her. There's no one who doesn't think that she's got huge and fundamental integrity, a lot of intelligence and a ton of decency. Those are very powerful assets and it would be a mistake for anyone to underestimate their staying power."

One administration official summed it up like this: "It's understood within the White House that Janet Yellen is going to say what she's going to say. Good luck with making her say anything she's not completely comfortable with."

Yellen declined comments on Politico's story.

She recently entered the battle over abortion.

"I believe that eliminating the rights of women to make decisions about women, whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades," she told the Senate Banking Committee on May 10.

Yellen said research has shown that denying women access to abortions increases their odds of living in poverty or on public assistance, Reuters reported.

Jeffrey Rodack

Jeffrey Rodack, who has nearly a half century in news as a senior editor and city editor for national and local publications, has covered politics for Newsmax for nearly seven years.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Amid soaring inflation and fears of a recession, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has surprised supporters by wielding less influence in the White House than her recent predecessors did, Politico is reporting.
janet yellen, clout, joe biden, treasury secretary, inflation
Thursday, 26 May 2022 08:25 AM
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