News / USA

Yellen Nominated to Head Fed

President Barack Obama applauds as he walks out of the State Dining Room of the White House with outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (R) and Janet Yellen, his nominee to replace Bernanke, in Washington, Oct. 9, 2013.
President Barack Obama applauds as he walks out of the State Dining Room of the White House with outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (R) and Janet Yellen, his nominee to replace Bernanke, in Washington, Oct. 9, 2013.
Jim Randle
President Barack Obama has nominated Janet Yellen to head the U.S. Federal Reserve.  If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first woman to lead the central bank for the world's largest economy.  Yellen is currently the second-in-command at the Fed, and many economists say she is likely to continue its efforts to boost economic growth and lower unemployment by cutting short and long-term interest rates.  

Obama came into office during the worst recession in decades, and opinion polls show the economy remains a top issue for voters.

Janet Yellen

  • Served as vice chair of Federal Reserve since 2010
  • President of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco 2004-2010
  • White House Council of Economic Advisers 1997-1999
  • Earned Doctorate in economics from Yale University in 1971
  • Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Born in 1946 in Brooklyn, New York
Unemployment has improved recently, but slowly, giving 67-year-old former Berkeley professor and long-time Fed official Janet Yellen a tough job. Obama says he has confidence in her.

"One of the nation's foremost economists and policymakers, current vice chairman, Janet Yellen," said President Obama.

Yellen says she understands the plight of the nation's millions of unemployed people.

"While we have made progress, we have farther to go.  The mandate of the Federal Reserve is to serve all the American people, and too many Americans still cannot find a job, and worry how they will pay their bills and provide for their families," said Yellen.

Yellen would replace Ben Bernanke, whose second term as head of the U.S. central bank ends in January. Obama praised his skill, creativity and courage in using unprecedented tactics to cope with severe economic problems.  

Under Bernanke's leadership, the Fed cut short-term interest rates to near zero, and has been trying to cut long-term rates with an $85 billion-a-month program of buying certain securities.

The Fed will have to decide how soon and how quickly to end this stimulus effort.  Economists say if the support is withdrawn too quickly, the economy could lapse back into recession.  If stimulus efforts go on for too long, however, they could spark inflation that could harm the economy.

Economist Joseph Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who previously worked at the Fed, says Yellen probably will continue Bernanke's policies.  
"I think Janet Yellen is fairly close to Ben Bernanke in terms of how she thinks about the economy," said Gagnon.

Gagnon says Yellen is also likely to continue Bernanke's collegial, academic style of dealing with the Fed governors, seeking consensus on economic policy.  

While Yellen brings continuity to the Fed, she is also the first woman to hold the job.  Marcy Syms, former chair and CEO of SYMS Corp who served on a board of small business advisors to the Federal Reserve of New York, says Yellen could inspire a generation of little girls.  

"It is a really big deal for the future of women going into science and math, something that this country desperately needs," said Syms.

Some analysts say Yellen is likely to be confirmed by the Senate, with votes from President Obama's Democratic Party allies and some moderate Republicans.  

Obama's other candidate for the job, former Treasury secretary and presidential adviser Larry Summers, withdrew his name from consideration in the face of opposition from Senate Democrats.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs