Nov. 21 - Senate committee approves Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen for nomination, moving her one step closer to becoming first woman to lead U.S. central bank. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen moved closer on Thursday to becoming the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank after a Senate committee approved her nomination and sent it to the full Senate for a final vote. If confirmed, as is widely expected, Yellen would replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term expires on Jan. 31 and become the most powerful woman in world finance. The vote was 14-8. Three Republicans backed her appointment and one Democrat voted no. A Democratic leadership aide said the aim was to hold a confirmation vote in the full Senate in December. Nominated by President Barack Obama, Yellen is viewed as a monetary policy dove more concerned about the costs to society of high unemployment than about the risk aggressive actions to lower it will ignite future inflation or fuel asset bubbles. She will preside over a central bank that has taken dramatic and unconventional steps to spur economic growth, and which is now wrestling with a decision on when to scale back a bond-buying program that has sought to drive down long-term market interest rates. The Fed has held benchmark U.S. interest rates near zero since late 2008 and has quadrupled the size of its balance sheet to $3.9 trillion through three massive asset purchase campaigns. It is currently buying $85 billion in bonds a month. Both Yellen and Bernanke have emphasized in recent days that the Fed will keep interest rates low for some time even after it winds down its asset purchases, remarks that have bolstered expectations of policy continuity at the central bank.