Senate confirms Yellen as Fed vice chairman
Janet Yellen is the new vice chairman of the Federal Reserve board, as the Senate unanimously confirmed her appointment Wednesday. Senators also approved the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin as a member of the board of governors, but delayed considering the nomination of Peter Diamond until after the mid-term elections of early November. The appointments come as the Fed mulls potential policy actions designed to stave off deflation and kick start the struggling economy. Yellen has been president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco since 2004 and was a member of the board of governors from 1994 to 1997. She replaces Donald Kohn, who retired in June but left Sept. 1, as vice chairman. With the confirmations of Yellen and Bloom Raskin, the seven-member board now has six governors. Upon her appointment by President Obama earlier this year, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., lauded Yellen as "one of the nation's most-respected macroeconomists." "She has consistently shown her commitment to the Federal Reserve’s mandate to fight unemployment, which is crucial today as unemployment remains at unacceptably high levels,” Boxer said. Bloom Raskin has been Maryland's commissioner of financial regulation since August 2007. Led by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Senate republicans blocked Diamond's nominations questioning his qualifications. Diamond is an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a supporter of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. "Professor Diamond is an authority on tax policy and Social Security," Shelby told The Washington Post last month. "It is not clear, however, that his background is ideally suited for monetary policy, especially given the current challenges facing the Fed." Write to Jason Philyaw.