Senate Banking Panel Schedules Vote on Yellen for Fed This Week

The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a Nov. 21 vote on the nomination of Janet Yellen to be chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The panel vote will set the stage for a full Senate confirmation vote later this year. If confirmed, Yellen, the Fed’s current vice chairman, will become the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank.

Democrats hold a two-vote lead on the 22-member committee. Yellen, 67, would succeed Ben S. Bernanke, whose current term ends in January.

Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, led an effort with 20 Democrats to send President Barack Obama a letter in support of Yellen before she had been nominated. Yellen faces opposition from Republicans who disapprove of the Fed’s recent monetary policy.

In 2010, Republican senators including the banking panel’s top Republican, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Alabama’s Richard Shelby, Louisiana’s David Vitter and Tennessee’s Bob Corker, opposed her. They all remain on the banking panel.

Yellen would need the support of five Republicans to gain 60 votes for confirmation on the Senate floor.

Senator Mike Johanns, a Nebraska Republican, has said he is “open” to her nomination. Corker said on Nov. 14 that Yellen is “obviously very qualified” and he has concerns over her positions on monetary policy. He is set to meet again with her this week.

Vitter Opposed

Vitter said in a statement on Nov. 14 that he would vote no on Yellen’s nomination.

Yellen made clear “she would continue the Fed’s current policies of continuing ‘Too Big to Fail’ and free money, quantitative easing, with no wind-down in sight,” Vitter said in a statement.

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said he will oppose Yellen’s nomination unless he receives consideration of his measure requiring a public audit of the Federal Reserve.

In two hours of testimony before the banking panel last week, Yellen indicated she’ll press on with the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary stimulus until she sees a robust recovery. Yellen signaled her determination to use bond buying to strengthen the economy and lower the nation’s 7.3 percent unemployment rate.

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