For the first time ever, a woman is about to lead the US Fed
Janet Yellen will be the first woman to lead the US Central Bank, the Federal Reserve. was confirmed in the post by a 56-26 vote in the US Senate. She received overwhelming support from Democrats but a number of Republicans voted against her nomination. As Bernanke’s vice chair she is closely identified with the policies the Fed has followed in the last few years and her appointment is seen by many as ‘more of the same’.
What the Senators said
Senator Sherrod Brown, who chairs the US Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, released the following statement on the confirmation of Janet Yellen as the first Chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, “This is a historic step for our country. Janet Yellen’s confirmation as the next Chair of the Federal Reserve System is great news for all us who care about reducing unemployment, growing the middle class, and working to prevent future bailouts.
“Her more than a decade at the Federal Reserve has shown she is a steady-handed, consensus builder who recognises that maximising employment is good for American workers and our continued economic recovery.”
Brown spearheaded a letter signed by more than one-third of Democratic senators urging President Obama to nominate Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve System.
Senator Al Franken said, "I couldn't be more pleased that the Senate confirmed Janet Yellen to be the next Chair of the Federal Reserve. With her substantial experience in the Federal Reserve System and as a bank regulator, Ms. Yellen brings the leadership necessary to successfully helm the Fed, which is exactly why I pressed President Obama to appoint her. I think her focus on reducing unemployment will help us address growing income inequality and continue us on the path of economic recovery, and I look forward to working with her."
Senator Tom Udall commented, "Today's vote was a historic moment for the Federal Reserve and for our nation. I look forward to seeing Dr. Yellen become the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve Board. As Vice Chair of the Fed, Dr. Yellen has proven herself to be a thoughtful and extremely effective leader. I look forward to her experienced hand and strong voice for working families as she takes its helm.
"I am also pleased that our efforts to reform Senate rules allowed a swift up-or-down vote on Dr. Yellen. The Senate is now able to do its job with respect to nominees without the partisan gridlock and obstruction that have become the norm in the Senate."
Senator Mark Udall welcomed the Senate's confirmation, saying, "I was proud to push for Yellen's nomination to lead the Federal Reserve, and I'm confident her leadership will help drive job growth and accelerate our economic recovery," Udall said. "Her reputation as an innovative problem solver will be indispensable as we continue our work to keep our financial systems strong, hold Wall Street accountable and foster policies that create more good-paying jobs right here in Colorado."
However, Yellen’s appointment was not met with unanimous approval. Senator Tom Coburn, MD, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and member of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee said, “I am supporting Janet Yellen’s nomination because she is unquestionably qualified to serve as the next chair of the Federal Reserve. My support of her, however, is in no way an endorsement of the Federal Reserve’s risky quantitative easing policy. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve has attempted to fill a leadership and policy vacuum that has been created by an administration and Congress that has refused to address our economic challenges and implement pro-growth economic policies. Yet, I’m concerned quantitative easing will only create new asset bubbles and will serve as a bailout for politicians who don’t want to make hard choices.
“In the future, the Federal Reserve’s decisions will be dictated by pragmatism rather than ideology for the simple reason that we can’t operate indefinitely on borrowed or printed money. Yellen will be well-suited to navigate the treacherous waters ahead.”
Senator Ted Cruz said, “We’re five years into the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programme, and the economy is stuck in malaise. Printing money by the trillions is dangerous, and working people need real economic growth to get their lives back on track.
"Janet Yellen has said she intends to continue current Fed policy, which may help Wall Street but is leaving Main Street with higher prices for gas and food, near-zero interest rates for savers, and stagnation for small businesses that aren’t growing or hiring. Meanwhile, workers' wages remain depressed and most households haven’t recouped their lost wealth from the recession.
"I'm also troubled that Ms. Yellen continues to oppose full transparency at the Fed – we need to audit the Fed now, so the American people can fully understand the scope and consequences of its recent extraordinary policies.
"For these reasons, I cannot support her nomination.”
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