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Yellen says ‘there is no truth’ to report she’s leaving agency after midterms

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen holds a news conference in the Cash Room at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, U.S. July 28, 2022. 

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen denied Tuesday an unconfirmed report that President Joe Biden would replace her after the November midterm elections, saying she plans to stay on as head of the agency.

Yellen, who spoke on a panel interview during the Treasury’s annual Freedman’s Bank Forum in Washington, curtly shut down speculation about her exit.

“There is no truth to that,” Yellen told moderator and MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart.

Republicans have been calling for Yellen’s resignation or firing since she admitted in a June interview that she was wrong about the direction inflation would take. News outlet Axios then reported last month that the White House was quietly exploring her replacement. An administration official reportedly told the outlet that the outcome of the midterm elections determines whether Yellen stays.

Dismissing Yellen might give Biden the opportunity to quell public concern about his economic policies, according to Axios. But Yellen has traveled the country promoting the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act as the major tenets of the economic recovery.

Yellen’s hypothetical departure would also cause political strife if Republicans flip the Senate, thereby complicating a smooth transition toward confirming a successor.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters last month that while the Biden administration is “prudently planning for potential transitions, post-midterm elections, neither Secretary Yellen or Brian Deese are part of those plans.”

Brian Deese is the director of the White House National Economic Council.

Jean-Pierre also confirmed that Cecelia Rouse, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, will step down in 2023. Rouse shared the panel Tuesday with Yellen.

Requests for comment from the White House National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers were not answered at the time of publication.

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