The Senate Banking Committee on a strong bipartisan vote of 14 to 8 Thursday approved the nomination of Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen to become the next head of the central bank.
Ms. Yellen would be the first woman chairman of the Fed in its 100-year history.
“Dr. Yellen has the experience and intellect that is necessary to lead our central bank,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota Democrat and one of the many Democrats on the committee who enthusiastically supported the nomination. “Today’s bipartisan vote reinforces the strong support for Dr. Yellen’s nomination and helps propel her toward a successful vote by the full Senate.
The support of several committee Republicans came as somewhat of a surprise, since most are critical of the Fed’s easy money policies under current Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, policies Ms. Yellen has pledged to continue.
Still, her overwhelmingly strong qualifications — with many of years of experience in the top ranks of economic policy both at the Fed and the White House — persuaded some that she would be a good choice for what has been called the nation’s second most powerful office.
“I would prefer to see someone who held a more modest view regarding the limits of monetary policy on our economy,” said Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican and one GOP senator who voted for Ms. Yellen.
After talking with the nominee, Mr. Corker said he thinks Ms. Yellen understood the dangers of holding interest rates too low for too long, and will move as quickly as she can to normalize rates when the economy is in full recovery.
“In the end, I do believe she has the qualifications necessary to be the Fed chairman,” he said.
Mr. Corker was joined by committee Republicans Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mark Kirk of Illinois in voting for Ms. Yellen. Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, was the only Democrat on the panel who opposed her.
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