The Senate Monday voted 56-26 to confirm Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen as the Fed’s next chairman. Yellen, who will be the first woman to serve in that position, will succeed Ben Bernanke.
In nominating her last fall, President Obama described Yellen, a long-time Fed official, as “exceptionally well qualified” and “someone who knows how to build consensus.” She has generally supported Bernanke’s policies, including efforts to bolster the economic recovery that have drawn fire from some members of Congress.
While the Fed is primarily responsible for monetary policy, Bernanke has regularly provided useful warnings to elected officials about the need for more responsible fiscal policies that would support the economic recovery in the short term while laying the groundwork for broad,longer-term fiscal reforms.
Yellen’s remarks in her Nov. 14 confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee followed that same line. She said she considered it “imperative that we do what we can to promote a very strong recovery.”
She also took lawmakers to task for fiscal policies that “have been working at cross-purposes to monetary policy.” She said some spending cuts, for example, “have certainly subtracted from the near-term momentum of the economy.”