Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen helped make history by holding up a newly minted $5 bill signed for the first time by two women.
Yellen’s signature will appear alongside President Obama’s whereas Lynn Malerba becomes the first Native American to serve as Treasurer.
Commenting on the situation, Yellen said, “I will admit, I spent some quality time practicing my signature.”
Yellen also said at a Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility in Fort Worth, Texas, “Women represent around 62% of the Treasury workforce, and women are in positions of power across our department. Today is not about me or a new signature on our currency. It’s about our collective work to create a stronger and more inclusive economy.”
“Two women on the currency for the first time is truly momentous,” said Malerba, who accompanied Yellen to a Bureau of Engraving and Printing site in Fort Worth to sign.
To commemorate the historic occasion, they ceremonially signed fresh sheets of $1 as well as $5 bills and posed with samples. The redesigned notes will enter circulation the following year.
Yellen established a reputation as a stoic Federal Reserve chair and astute forecaster, as well as she is now at the forefront of far-flung efforts to use economic levers to help stop Russia’s war in Ukraine, use tax policy to protect the planet from climate change, and oversee a massive effort to strengthen the beleaguered IRS.
This places her at the heart of domestic as well as global politics, exposing her to increased levels of scrutiny and second-guessing from both allies and opponents. She is confronting this task at a time when inflation in the United States has reached a 40-year high, raising fears of an approaching recession.
Concerning the situation in Ukraine, which Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated in February, she stated, “Together with over 30 countries, we have denied Russia revenue and resources it needs to fight its war.”
In terms of the home economy, she claimed that pandemic relief efforts as well as a new law to increase semiconductor manufacture have given the U.S, “to capitalize on a wave of economic opportunities for the American people, including in communities often overlooked.”
Yellen later told reporters that she believes the United States can avert a recession.
“Obviously, there are risks that the economy faces, but I think we’re not in a wage price spiral. Supply chain bottlenecks. are clearly beginning to ease. That’s helpful. I believe we’re on the right track in terms of lowering inflation, and a recession is not inevitable.”
Now, two years into Joe Biden’s presidency, Yellen has put to rest rumors that she is planning to leave the administration early and is bracing for more economic, as well as political, confrontations.
Along with managing the Treasury’s role in the Ukraine war, she faces the Herculean task of revitalizing an IRS that is receiving an $80 billion funding boost, as well as enforcing an anti-money laundering effort requiring documenting the beneficial owners of tens of millions of U.S. businesses in the hopes of crushing corruption worldwide.
She is in an increasingly politicized position in which Congress as well as foreign governments are as important as financial markets.
Her Treasury Department is attempting to stymie Russia’s economy with an oil price ceiling, while House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California questions the amount of US assistance for Ukraine. The Treasury is also putting together tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks to fight climate change.