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U.S. Senate confirms ex-Fed economist as Treasury debt boss

·1 min read

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Nellie Liang as the U.S. Treasury's undersecretary for domestic finance, putting the former Federal Reserve economist in charge of managing a rapidly expanding federal debt.

Liang, a former Federal Reserve economist, was confirmed 72-27 in a bipartisan vote https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=117&session=1&vote=00264, with 23 Republicans supporting her and only one Democrat, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, voting against.

She takes over the Treasury's domestic finance operation as COVID-19 aid spending continues at a high level and as the Treasury faces a possible fight with Congress over the federal debt limit.

A two-year suspension of the debt limit is set to expire on July 31, and U.S. Treasury Janet Yellen told Reuters on Tuesday that she expects to immediately launch extraordinary cash management measures if Congress fails to act on a new suspension or increase.

The Congressional Budget Office also has forecast that the U.S. budget deficit will reach $3 trillion for fiscal 2021, nearly as high as the record fiscal 2020 deficit of $3.13 trillion.

At her confirmation hearing, Liang told senators she would review Treasury debt market to ensure that stays resilient and operates well in times of stress.

She also said it would be her "priority to promote an efficient and stable financial system that can meet the needs of a dynamic economy." (Reporting by David Lawder Editing by Alistair Bell)