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Treasury Ramps Up Racial Equity Review as It Deploys Relief Funds

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department is moving ahead with a formal racial equity review of the agency and its programs, putting in place an effort to ensure that economic fairness is prioritized throughout the Biden administration as it begins to disburse $1.9 trillion in relief money.The initiative is expected to be led by Adewale Adeyemo once he is confirmed as deputy Treasury secretary, according to people familiar with the matter. It will be undertaken in close collaboration with Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, who is making racial equity a centerpiece of her agenda as she oversees the disbursement of much of …

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Janet Yellen on Jobs, Debt, Taxes, Climate and Cryptocurrency

Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury secretary, has given only a handful of interviews since taking up her post about a month ago. Business leaders and investors hang on her every word, trying to divine how she and the Biden administration will steer policy and how this will impact the economy and the markets. Ms. Yellen, previously the chair of the Federal Reserve, is skilled at staying on message, but in an interview with me for the DealBook DC Policy Project, she hinted at some policy priorities in her typically understated way.Here are the highlights of what she said about …

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Biden and the Fed Leave 1970s Inflation Fears Behind

Economists have struggled to understand the phenomenon, but they largely think inflation is being held down by a cocktail of aging demographics, changing consumer expectations and limited pricing power in a globalized world where consumers can search online to compare prices.Market-based inflation expectation measures are hovering right around 2 percent, and consumer inflation outlooks have dipped slightly over the past decade, though one gauge ticked up in a recent reading. If buyers don’t expect higher prices, companies may find themselves unable to raise them, so whatever people anticipate can drive reality.It’s also hard to see where a …

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Senate Confirms Janet L. Yellen as Treasury Secretary

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Janet L. Yellen, a labor economist and former Federal Reserve chair, to be Treasury secretary on Monday, putting in place a key lieutenant to President Biden at a perilous economic moment, as the new administration tries to revive an economy that has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.By a vote of 84 to 15, the Senate confirmed Ms. Yellen, making her the first woman to hold the top job at Treasury in its 232-year history. Her quick bipartisan confirmation underscored the support she has from both Republicans and Democrats given her previous stint as Fed chair from 2014 …

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Fed Officials Debated Rate Liftoff in 2015, Offering Lessons for Today

The Federal Reserve lifted interest rates from near-zero in 2015 after years of holding them at rock bottom following the 2008 global financial crisis. Transcripts from their policy discussions, released Friday, show just how fraught that decision was.The debate that played out then is especially relevant at a time when the central bank has again slashed interest rates practically to zero, this time to fight the pandemic-induced economic downturn. The concerns that officials voiced over lifting rates in 2015 — that inflation would not pick up, and that the labor market had further to heal — proved prescient in ways that will inform policy …

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What Is 13-3? Why a Debate Over the Fed Is Holding Up Stimulus Talks

As markets melted down in March, the Federal Reserve unveiled novel programs meant to keep credit flowing to states, medium-sized businesses and big companies — and Congress handed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin $454 billion to back up the effort.Nine months later, Senate Republicans are trying to make sure that those same programs cannot be restarted after Mr. Mnuchin lets them end on Dec. 31. Beyond preventing their reincarnation under the Biden administration, Republicans are seeking to insert language into a pandemic stimulus package that would limit the Fed’s powers going forward, potentially keeping it from lending to businesses and municipalities in …

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Biden’s Economic Team Suggests Focus on Workers and Income Equality

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. formally announced his top economic advisers on Monday, choosing a team that is stocked with champions of organized labor and marginalized workers, signaling an early focus on efforts to speed and spread the gains of the recovery from the pandemic recession.The selections build on a pledge Mr. Biden made to business groups two weeks ago, when he said labor unions would have “increased power” in his administration. They suggest that Mr. Biden’s team will be focused initially on increased federal spending to reduce unemployment and an expanded safety net to cushion households …

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Biden Expected to Name Top Economic Officials This Week

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to name top members of his economic team this week, including Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton labor economist, to run the Council of Economic Advisers, and Neera Tanden, the chief executive of the Center for American Progress, to lead the Office of Management and Budget, according to people familiar with the matter.The announcement — which will include Mr. Biden’s decision to name Janet L. Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, as Treasury secretary — would potentially culminate in several women in top economic roles, including the first Black woman to lead the Council …

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Markets Throw a Welcome Party of Sorts for Biden

A day after the Trump administration effectively acknowledged the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr., investors showed their relief by pushing the two major stock market indexes to all-time records on Tuesday.It was a welcome party of sorts for Mr. Biden, but what investors were really embracing was the end of uncertainty. President-elect Biden has vowed to push for more stimulus to bolster the economy. His selection for Treasury secretary, Janet L. Yellen, is well known from her days as Federal Reserve chair. And several new coronavirus vaccine candidates mean that the pandemic could be under control in the …

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Yellen Would Assume Vast Policy Portfolio as Treasury Secretary

WASHINGTON — Janet L. Yellen’s expected nomination as Treasury secretary will place the former Federal Reserve chair into a critical role overseeing President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s economic and national security agenda at an agency that has increasingly become a center of power.While Ms. Yellen’s views on monetary policy are well known from her time leading the central bank, her perspective on a range of issues that are part of the Treasury Department’s portfolio is less known.As Treasury secretary, Ms. Yellen will be the Biden administration’s chief economic diplomat and will face the challenge …

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