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Republican Senators Press Yellen for Tough Stance on China

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• January 26, 2021 3:15 pm

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Senate Republicans are pushing Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to take an aggressive stance on China.

In a Monday letter, Sens. Mitt Romney (R., Utah), Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Ben Sasse (R., Neb.), and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) said the Biden administration must not fall back into the lax trade and economic policies that allowed China's "evil empire" to rise. The senators demanded that Yellen act decisively in punishing China for its use of economic warfare to undermine American strength.

"The strategic consequences of continued financial and technological interdependence with Xi Jinping’s evil regime demand deeper and more specific policy prescriptions than what you provided in both your oral and written responses," the letter to Yellen states. "We remain concerned however about the strategic consequences of any reticence to commit to us[ing] … tools to economically challenge and technologically decouple American financial interests from the CCP."

Yellen has acknowledged China engages in unfair trade practices and openly disagreed with the longstanding manipulation of currency that Beijing has used to its advantage. However, she has also disagreed with the Trump administration’s approach to curtailing Chinese influence through tariffs and the disruption of international trade.

The Treasury secretary was confirmed in a 84-15 vote on Monday, with only Republicans objecting to the nomination. Cotton blasted the nomination as pushing divisive economic policy despite Biden’s call for unity in his agenda.

"Janet Yellen has served the public for many years, but I will not support nominees who’ve indicated they will advance Joe Biden’s divisive economic vision for our country," he said in a Monday press release.