Janet Yellen was confirmed by the Senate as the first female chairman of the Federal Reserve, in a 59-26 vote. Yellen will serve a four-year term through January 2018.
In total, 11 Republicans sided with Democrats in voting for Yellen’s confirmation, including Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
Following the vote on Monday night, President Obama praised Yellen’s confirmation.
“The American people will have a fierce champion who understands that the ultimate goal of economic and financial policymaking is to improve the lives, jobs and standard of living of American workers and their families,” he said.
“As one of our nation’s most respected economists and a leading voice at the Fed for more than a decade – and Vice Chair for the past three years – Janet helped pull our economy out of recession and put us on the path of steady growth. Janet is committed to the Fed’s dual mandate of keeping inflation in check while also addressing our most important economic challenge by reducing unemployment and creating jobs.”
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said Yellen has proven that she is qualified to lead the Fed.
“Americans should feel reassured that we will have her at the helm of the Fed as our nation continues to recover from the Great Recession,” he said in a statement. “Dr. Yellen’s leadership will also be critical as the Fed completes Wall Street Reform rulemakings and continues to enhance the stability of our financial sector. I was proud to be a part of this historic vote, look forward to working with Dr. Yellen, and wish her well.”
House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling said he hopes Yellen will increase Fed transparency.
“Based upon the economy’s subpar performance since the Federal Reserve embarked upon its stimulus more than five years ago, it is fair to conclude that rarely has so much been spent in pursuit of so little, and rarely has so much been risked in return for so little,” he said in a statement.
“That is why I hope Dr. Yellen will lead the Federal Reserve to adopt a more transparent and rules-based monetary policy that aims for price stability and long-term growth. Dr. Yellen has spoken favorably about such a rules-based policy in the past, saying it is what ‘sensible central banks do.’”
Yellen said during her confirmation hearing she opposes an audit of the Fed.
“What I would not support is … any requirement that would diminish the independence of the Federal Reserve in implementing and deciding on implementing a monetary policy. For 50 years Congress has recognized that there should be an exception to GAO ability to audit the Fed to avoid any political interference in monetary policy,” she said.
NAFCU President/CEO Dan Berger said, “We congratulate Governor Yellen on her confirmation and look forward to a continued, productive dialogue with the Federal Reserve on issues important to credit unions and their communities.”
Bill Loving, ICBA chairman and Camden R. Fine, ICBA president and CEO, said their organization looks forward to working with Yellen.
“Dr. Yellen has practical, on-the-ground regulatory and administrative experience and is an excellent choice to lead the Fed,” a statement said.
“From her time as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Dr. Yellen has demonstrated a clear understanding of community banks and their unique, relationship-based business model. As one of the nation’s most accomplished economists, she also appreciates how community banks support economic growth and stability in communities across the nation.”
During her confirmation hearing, Yellen also said she supports relief for small financial institutions.
“We need a model for supervision of them that's different and much less onerous and has much less regulatory burden and is appropriate to their business model,” she said. “We are obviously imposing on the largest systemic institutions much higher and more onerous prudential standards.”