WASHINGTON—Janet Yellen told lawmakers Tuesday she would make the needs of America’s workers her core focus if confirmed as the next U.S. Treasury secretary and ensure the U.S. has a competitive economy that offers good jobs and wages workers in cities and rural areas.

“I will be focused on day one on providing support to America’s workers and to small businesses, putting into effect as quickly and efficiently as I can, the relief in the bill that was recently passed, and then over time working for a second package that I think we need to get through these dark times,” she told the Senate Finance Committee at her confirmation hearing before a vote on her nomination.

Ms. Yellen said that additional spending that provides relief for struggling families and businesses could provide the most “bang for the buck” for the economy as a whole, including extended jobless benefits and nutrition assistance.

Ms. Yellen also affirmed the U.S.’s commitment to market-determined exchange rates, and she made clear the U.S. doesn’t seek a weaker dollar for competitive advantage. She added that efforts by foreign countries to artificially manipulate their currencies are “unacceptable.”

She also took aim at China, saying the U.S. should address its “abusive, unfair and illegal practices,” including undercutting American companies by dumping products, erecting trade barriers, giving illegal subsidies to corporations and stealing intellectual property.

This post first appeared on wsj.com

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