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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid