Senate committee backs Yellen for Fed chief

Janet Yellen's candidacy to become the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve Board got a boost Thursday, as the Senate Banking Committee sent her nomination to the full Senate by a 14-8 vote.

Not that the vote was without contentiousness. The political nature of monetary policy in the modern economy was on full display Thursday:

The committee’s vote showed how the Federal Reserve’s policies to keep money flowing to the ailing economy have made the Fed a part of the ongoing partisan wars in Washington. It broke largely along party lines, with three Republican senators — Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma — voting in favor of her nomination. One Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, voted against her.

If Yellen assumes Ben Bernanke's seat, most in the financial markets expect her to continue with much of her predecessor's policies and maintain quantitative easing, keeping mortgage rates low.

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