Obama nominates Yellen to succeed Bernanke

October 9, 2013

WASHINGTON (Oct 9)   In a brief statement at the White House, Obama, flanked by Yellen and Bernanke, urged the Senate to act swiftly to confirm her “given the urgent economic challenges facing our nation.” 

Yellen, 67, is currently vice chair of the U.S. central bank.

She said that “more needs to be done to strengthen the recovery,” even though progress has been made.

Yellen Is Obama's choice as Fed chief

President Barack Obama plans to announce Wednesday he is nominating Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen to become the central bank's new leader. If confirmed, she would be the first female central bank chair. Jon Hilsenrath reports. Photo: AP.

Economists quickly took note.

“When a prominent, and soon to be most prominent, Fed official says ‘more needs to be done,’ pay attention,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC, in a Twitter post. 

“Too many Americans still cannot find a job and worry how they will pay their bills and provide for their families,” Yellen said. The Fed can help by ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to work hard and build a better life, she added.

At the same time, the central bank must make sure that inflation remains “in check,” she said. Yellen has a reputation as a “dove” though some observers feel that is a bit overstated. 

The Fed’s other task is to safeguard the health of the financial system, according to Yellen.

She said the Fed’s greatest strength was its approach to important problems. The Fed tackles issues with expertise and objectivity, and after a vigorous debate of diverse views, then it “will unite behind its response.”

Obama called Yellen “tough” and joked that it was not just because she was born in Brooklyn.

“She has a keen understanding about how markets and the economy, not just in theory, but also in the real world,” Obama said. The president said that Yellen told him she understands the human costs of a high unemployment rate.

“America’s workers and their families will have a champion in Janet Yellen,” Obama said. 

Bernanke attended the ceremony, but did not speak.

In a brief statement issued later in the afternoon, Bernanke said Yellen “is exceptionally well qualified for the position, with stellar academic credentials and a strong record as a leader and a policymaker.”

Like Bernanke, Yellen is a former academic expert on monetary policy who has eschewed politics. A former professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, Yellen is described by colleagues as non-ideological, well-prepared, and cautious. Economists portray Yellen as a continuation of Bernanke’s aggressive easing stance developed in reaction to the financial crisis.

Many on Wall Street see Yellen as a “dove” as she is a Democrat and supported asset purchases, said Robert Brusca, chief economist at FAO Economics.

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