The Senate voted Monday afternoon 56-26 to confirm Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve. Yellen is the first woman to fill the position and succeeds Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term ends on January 31. The Federal Reserve is the country’s central banking system created just over 100 years ago to provide the nation with a safer and more stable monetary and financial system.
“In a time when incredible wealth disparities have decimated low-income communities, Janet Yellen is a strong choice to bringing about a more inclusive economic recovery,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in a statement commending her nomination in October. “She is an impeccably credentialed economist who, throughout her career, has put jobs first when considering economic policy. Her experience as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System under Ben Bernanke will be a tremendous asset.”
Monday’s vote was the closest in the position’s history and makes Yellen the first Democratic nominee to head the Federal Reserve since Paul Volcker, a Jimmy Carter appointee, left the position in 1987.
“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. And she understands that fostering a stable financial system will help the overall economy and protect consumers,” said President Obama in a statement following Yellen’s confirmation. “I am confident that Janet will stand up for American workers, protect consumers, foster the stability of our financial system, and help keep our economy growing for years to come.”