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

in Local

Springfield Fire Captain Arrested for Wielding Gun

gun

The Menard County Sheriff's office says a Springfield Fire Department captain has been arrested for carrying a shotgun into a rural Athens home and threatening residents.

in Local

State Attorney General Warns Against Immigration Scammers

immigration reform

Lisa Madigan's office warns those applying for deportation relief to be on the lookout for scammers posing as Notarios.

in Local

Cullerton Helps Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

Tom Cullerton

HJR 91 helps returning veterans transition back to civilian life.

in Local

New Lincoln Exhibit Opens Today at Presidental Museum & Library

Lincoln Presidential Museum

New exhibit celebrates 150th anniversary of Lincoln's death and 10th anniversary of ALPLM.

in Local

Court Date Set to Determine State Retiree Healthcare Refunds

state_capitol_3

The state will refund money to about 75,000 state retirees who've been paying a portion of their pensions for health insurance.