Yellen confirmed as Fed chair

The Senate confirmed Janet Yellen on Monday as the next leader of the Federal Reserve, placing her in charge of ensuring that the nation’s economy makes a full recovery.

Her nomination passed the chamber by a vote of 56 to 26 on its first day back in session after winter recess, despite opposition from some Republicans who have advocated for greater oversight of the central bank. Yellen is currently the second-in-command at the Fed and will be the first woman in the top job. She is slated to take office Feb. 1.

“She has proven through her extensive and impressive record in public service and academia that she is most qualified to be the next chair,” Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said Monday. “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.”

Yellen will take office while the Fed is at a crossroads. Over the past five years, it has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy through bond purchases to lower borrowing costs for consumers and businesses and boost the recovery. Now, it is starting to scale back that support — a delicate task that risks jeopardizing the economy’s progress. A wrong move could also send Wall Street into panic mode.

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Ylan Q. Mui is a financial reporter at The Washington Post covering the Federal Reserve and the economy.
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