News / USA

    Yellen to Face Tough Questioning on US Central Bank Nomination

    FILE - President Barack Obama applauds as Janet Yellen, vice chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, speaks after the president announced he is nominating Yellen to be chair of the Federal Reserve, succeeding Ben Bernanke, in the St
    FILE - President Barack Obama applauds as Janet Yellen, vice chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, speaks after the president announced he is nominating Yellen to be chair of the Federal Reserve, succeeding Ben Bernanke, in the St
    VOA News
    Janet Yellen is likely to face sharp questioning at her confirmation hearing this week to become chairwoman of the U.S. central bank, but most analysts think eventually she will win approval as one of the most powerful unelected leaders in the world.

    There does not appear to be any organized opposition to U.S. President Barack Obama's nomination of the 67-year-old Yellen to become the first woman to head the Federal Reserve when the current chairman, Ben Bernanke, leaves office at the end of January.

    But Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee are expected to closely question Yellen, now the Fed's vice chairman, about policies the central bank has adopted to try to boost the American economy, the world's largest. The country is still faced with high unemployment as it slowly recovers from the 2009 recession, the steepest downturn for the U.S. since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    The chief economist at the Standard & Poor's credit-rating company, Beth Ann Bovino, said she thinks Yellen will be confirmed. Bovino said lawmakers, however, will want answers from Yellen at Thursday's hearing about her support for the Fed's $85-billion monthly purchase of securities to pump more money into the economy. Specifically, Bovino said they will want to know when the Fed might begin to trim the purchases, to "taper" them, in the jargon of economists.

    But Bovino said Yellen might not be as forthcoming as some lawmakers would like. "I think she's going to stay away from questions of tapering. On that note, I think she's going to again stick to the party line and hold to the decision on tapering is really a matter of [economic] data. It's data driven."

    At least one Republican senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he will try to block Yellen's confirmation until Obama agrees to let more State Department officials testify about the details of the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed four American diplomats, including an ambassador.

    Economic analyst Mark Hamrick of bankrate.com said any delay in Yellen's confirmation would create uncertainty in world financial markets and slow the U.S. economy.

    "We're at a point with the U.S. economy where we need to be subtracting uncertainty, not adding to it. And if, indeed, some of these senators were to try to hold up the Yellen nomination, they're again causing, in a sense, damage to the economy," said Hamrick.

    Policy makers at the Federal Reserve, led by its chairman, make decisions that shape the U.S. economy. They also often influence key leaders overseas, though, as they decide how to advance the massive economies in Europe and Asia and the more regional economic fortunes in South America, Africa and elsewhere.

    Bovino said that as a result, the Fed chairman is an important figure in world economic circles.

    "There certainly now is a question of unwinding their large bond purchases and that's going to have large ramifications across the world. So whomever's in charge is going to be the leader and those decisions... will certainly be someone that people are going to be watching," said Bovina.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.