NEW CLIMATE POST AT TREASURY

Yellen called climate change an “existential threat” to the U.S. economy and said she would appoint a senior official at Treasury; to oversee the issue and assess systemic risks it poses to the financial system.

She added investment in clean technologies and electric vehicles was needed to cut carbon emissions; keep the U.S. economy competitive and provide good jobs for American workers.

Yellen said China was the most important strategic competitor of the United States; and underscored the determination of the Biden administration to crack down on what she called China’s “abusive, unfair and illegal practices.”

Asked whether China had committed “genocide” in its treatment of Muslim Uighurs as the Trump administration declared in a last-minute proclamation; Yellen said China is “guilty of horrendous human rights abuses, yes.”

Democrats will take over Senate committees, including Finance.

Republican Senator Mike Crapo said he would work towards an “expeditious” confirmation for Yellen.

She also received the endorsement of all former Treasury secretaries, from George Schultz to Jack Lew; who urged senators in a letter to swiftly confirm Yellen’s nomination to avoid “setting back recovery efforts.”

A spokeswoman for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who steps down on Wednesday, did not respond to a request for comment.