Yellen Senate confirmation delayed until January

Rather than work through the weekend, legislators agree to move vote on next Fed chief to Jan. 6

Dec 20, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

A final confirmation vote on Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve was delayed until early January after the U.S. Senate dropped plans to consider her nomination this weekend.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid late Thursday announced an agreement under which senators will vote to advance Ms. Yellen's nomination Friday, then take a holiday break and return Jan. 6 for the final vote. Confirmation votes for three other presidential nominees are set for Friday.

The agreement breaks a partisan tug-of-war that has slowed Democrats' efforts to confirm a slate of 10 presidential nominees, including Ms. Yellen, before adjourning for the year. The adjournment now is scheduled for later Friday.

Faced with vows by Republicans to use all the available time to delay a confirmation vote on Ms. Yellen until 6 p.m. tomorrow, Mr. Reid agreed to take up the matter next month in exchange for locking in votes on three other nominees.

The Senate Friday will vote on confirming John Koskinen to be the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Alejandro Mayorkas to be deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Brian Davis to be a federal judge in Florida.

Republican senators have been using up all available time for debate on various issues this week to protest a Nov. 21 change in the chamber's rules pushed through by Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat. The change denied Republicans procedural tactics they had been using to stall Obama's choices for executive branch and most judicial posts.

Ms. Yellen needs the backing of a simple majority of the chamber's 100 members to become the 15th chairman and first woman to head the central bank in its 100-year history.

REPLACING BERNANKE

If confirmed, she will replace Ben S. Bernanke, whose term as Fed chairman expires Jan. 31. Mr. Obama tapped her after front-runner Larry Summers, a former Treasury secretary, dropped out three months ago amid opposition from Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee.

“We need her expertise at the helm of the Fed as our nation continues to recover from the great recession, completes Wall Street reform rule makings and continues to enhance the stability of our financial sector,” Senate Banking Chairman Tim Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat, said in a floor speech.

Ms. Yellen, a main architect of the Fed stimulus's programs, indicated in her Nov. 14 confirmation hearing that she'll maintain current policies until a “strong recovery” permits the bank to scale back monetary accommodation. She played down risks that the stimulus is inflating asset prices, saying she doesn't see “bubble-like conditions” for stocks.

(Bloomberg News)

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