Yellen gets gentle questioning, even from Fed's Republican critics

Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:31pm EST
 
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By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Janet Yellen's hopes of becoming the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve got a boost on Thursday when she sailed through her Senate confirmation hearing with only mild questioning from some of the Fed's fiercest Republican critics.

Yellen, the U.S. central bank's current vice chair, brought a calm and confident demeanor to the Senate Banking Committee, where she was asked about the Fed's massive economic stimulus program and how she would rein in banks seen as "too big to fail".

One of the biggest risks she faced was the potential for a sharp exchange over the Fed's easy-money policies that might further antagonize Senate Republicans.

But Republicans mostly held their fire.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee even paid a few compliments to Yellen, whom President Barack Obama nominated last month to succeed Ben Bernanke at the helm of the Fed when his term expires at the end of January.

Corker, who has been outspoken about his concerns about the Fed's bond-buying program, or "quantitative easing," noted that Yellen had voted to raise interest rates 27 times during her long tenure at the Fed.

"I thought that was just good to get into the record," Corker said.

The comment was a signal that he recognized that she was not simply interested in printing money.   Continued...

 
Janet Yellen, President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the U.S. Federal Reserve, is pictured at her U.S. Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing in Washington November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed