President Barack Obama will choose Janet Yellen as head of the Federal Reserve, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat predicted.
“I would bet a few bucks that that would happen if I were a betting man,” Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois told Peter Cook in a Bloomberg Television interview for “Capital Gains” airing this weekend.
Durbin, who has a close relationship with Obama, is one of about 20 Senate Democrats who signed a July 26 letter urging Obama to pick Yellen, 67, the central bank’s current vice chairman.
“That’s hard to say,” Durbin said when asked whether Yellen would have a smooth confirmation in the Senate. “The confirmation process is long. It’s very tough. And a lot of questions and investigation go into it, but she’s sure done a great job with the Federal Reserve. And I think she’s in a position where she could lead it effectively.”
The Senate’s No. 3 Democrat, Charles Schumer of New York, on Sept. 18 called Yellen an “excellent choice” to succeed Ben S. Bernanke when his term expires on Jan. 31.
The endorsement from Schumer, a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, came days after former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers withdrew his name from consideration.
At least five Democrats on the banking panel -- Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota - said they wouldn’t support Summers.
Obama’s aides in recent weeks have made calls to U.S. Senate offices to discuss the process of selecting the next central bank chief, mentioning Yellen by name, according to three Senate Democratic staff members.
On Sept. 20, the Economic Club of New York announced that Yellen was postponing a scheduled Oct. 1 speech to the group.