News

Senate poised to confirm Janet Yellen as Fed Chair

Senate poised to confirm Janet Yellen as Fed Chair

JANET YELLEN: Janet Yellen is expected to be confirmed. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate, kicking off its 2014 session on Monday, intends to waste no time making history as it moves to approve Janet Yellen to be the first woman to head the Federal Reserve.

A Senate vote is set for 5:30 p.m. on Yellen, 67, who has been vice chair of the U.S. central bank since 2010.

If confirmed, Yellen would succeed Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term ends on Jan. 31.

In an early sign that Yellen commands enough support to win confirmation, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 59-34 on Dec. 20 to move forward with the nomination.

President Barack Obama’s choice of Yellen put her in line to become the first female chief of the powerful U.S. central bank in its 100-year history and just one of a handful of women heading central banks globally.

Yellen has been an unwavering advocate of the Fed’s aggressive steps to boost the U.S. economy as it struggled to emerge from a severe economic recession.

In late 2008, the Fed cut overnight interest rates to near zero and has since conducted a series of massive bond purchase programs intended to keep long-term borrowing costs low.

The result has been a falling U.S. jobless rate, which hit a five-year low in November of 7 percent as the pace of economic growth has also picked up.

Assuming the Senate approves her nomination, Yellen’s main task will be to navigate the central bank’s way out of its extraordinary stimulus, dialing down its current bond-buying program. The U.S. central bank trimmed that program to $75 billion per month, from $85 billion, at a much anticipated policy meeting last month.

During a mid-November Senate Banking Committee hearing on her nomination, Yellen defended the Fed’s aggressive actions to foster economic growth and said, “I consider it imperative that we do what we can to promote a very strong recovery.”

Some Republicans expressed concerns the Fed may have gone too far. “I think the economy has gotten used to the sugar you’ve put out there and I just worry that we’re on a sugar high,” Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska said at the time.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir in San Francisco and Richard Cowan in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney and Chris Reese)

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Sports

The best sports shots this week

Fresh
A horse is ridden to the track for a workout at Churchill Downs Thursday, May 5, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. The 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 7. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A look back at some of the biggest plays and best moments in sports this week.

2 hours ago in Sports

The weekend sports schedule

Fresh
derby16125540087682

Here’s a look at some of the sporting events taking place this weekend.

3 hours ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is finally here

10-overlay

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

3 hours ago in National

Making headlines this week

A member of the NATO parachute demonstration team lands during a change of command ceremony at NATO military headquarters in Mons, southern Belgium on Wednesday May 4, 2016. U.S. Army General Curtis  M. Scaparrotti was installed as NATO's 18th supreme allied commander Europe (SACEUR). The commander, by tradition an American general or admiral, is responsible for the overall direction and conduct of NATO's global military operations. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

A look back at some of the biggest stories this week and the headlines you may have missed.

3 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Anti-hunger group uses fake app to fool, educate

18-overlay

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 14 percent of Americans, or more than 17 million people, are what is called food insecure, meaning at times of the year, they are uncertain of being able to acquire enough food for their household.