Bank­ing panel gives Yellen thumbs up

Sev­eral from GOP voted with ma­jor­ity

The Washington Times Daily - - Business - BY PA­TRICE HILL

The Se­nate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee on a strong bi­par­ti­san vote of 14 to 8 Thurs­day ap­proved the nom­i­na­tion of Fed­eral Re­serve Vice Chair­man Janet Yellen to be­come the next head of the cen­tral bank.

Ms. Yellen would be the first woman chair­man of the Fed in its 100-year his­tory.

“Dr. Yellen has the ex­pe­ri­ence and in­tel­lect that is nec­es­sary to lead our cen­tral bank,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota Demo­crat and one of the many Democrats on the com­mit­tee who en­thu­si­as­ti­cally sup­ported the nom­i­na­tion. “To­day’s bi­par­ti­san vote re­in­forces the strong sup­port for Dr. Yellen’s nom­i­na­tion and helps pro­pel her to­ward a suc­cess­ful vote by the full Se­nate.

The sup­port of sev­eral com­mit­tee Repub­li­cans came as some­what of a sur­prise, since most are crit­i­cal of the Fed’s easy money poli­cies un­der cur­rent Chair­man Ben S. Ber­nanke, poli­cies Ms. Yellen has pledged to con­tinue.

Still, her over­whelm­ingly strong qual­i­fi­ca­tions — with many of years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the top ranks of eco­nomic pol­icy both at the Fed and the White House — per­suaded some that she would be a good choice for what has been called the na­tion’s sec­ond most pow­er­ful of­fice.

“I would pre­fer to see some­one who held a more mod­est view re­gard­ing the lim­its of mone­tary pol­icy on our econ­omy,” said Sen. Bob Corker, Ten­nessee Repub­li­can and one GOP se­na­tor who voted for Ms. Yellen.

Af­ter talk­ing with the nom­i­nee, Mr. Corker said he thinks Ms. Yellen un­der­stood the dan­gers of hold­ing in­ter­est rates too low for too long, and will move as quickly as she can to nor­mal­ize rates when the econ­omy is in full re­cov­ery.

“In the end, I do be­lieve she has the qual­i­fi­ca­tions nec­es­sary to be the Fed chair­man,” he said.

Mr. Corker was joined by com­mit­tee Repub­li­cans Sens. Tom Coburn of Ok­la­homa and Mark Kirk of Illi­nois in vot­ing for Ms. Yellen. Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Vir­ginia Demo­crat, was the only Demo­crat on the panel who op­posed her.

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