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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid