The New York Times
January 6, 2014
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Janet L. Yellen as the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve on Monday, marking the first time that a woman will lead the country’s central bank in its 100-year history.
As a Fed official, Ms. Yellen, 67, has been an influential proponent of the Fed’s extraordinary measures to revive the economy, even though interest rates are already close to zero.
But as chairwoman, Ms. Yellen will face the arduous task of overseeing the gradual unwinding of those measures, despite an uncomfortably high unemployment rate of 7 percent and subdued inflation.
During the confirmation process, senators from both sides of the aisle criticized the Fed for not doing enough to aid the economy and help middle-class Americans, and for trying to do too much, thus distorting the markets and risking new bubbles.
“I fear that they are already in way too deep,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, on the Senate floor, before the confirmation vote. Mr. Grassley questioned how the Fed would pull back on its recent campaign of large-scale asset purchases “without spooking investors,” and whether that might stoke inflation.