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Yellen in spotlight at Senate committee hearing

Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 03:09

Nov. 13 - Obama's nominee to head the Federal Reserve faces a likely grilling at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday. Jeanne Yurman reports.

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Janet Yellen, Obama's top pick to lead the Federal Reserve will face a critical gauntlet Thursday over her dovish ways. Members of the Senate Banking Committee are grilling the 67 year-old economist before the full Senate votes on her nomination to succeed the current Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, whose term expires at the end of January. Yellen, the central bank's current Vice Chair, has loads of policymaking experience and plenty of fans. Except for some Republicans like Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, who are critical of her support for the the Fed's effort to juice the economy by buying $85 billion a month in U.S. Treasuries and mortgage bonds. SOUNDBITE: DAVID VITTER, U.S. SENATOR (R-LA)(ENGLISH) SAYING : "I'm concerned about what seems to be her inclination about continuing an easy money policy forever. I think were building up inflationary pressure in the future. I think there are real dangers there." In her testimony released late Wednesday Yellen said that to reduce reliance on unconventional policy tools like asset purchases, supporting the economic recovery is the "surest path" back to more normal monetary policy. Vitter says he'd also like to hear her talk about added measures to avoid future too-big-to-fail banks. In a chess-like move many thorny questions may actually come from her supporters says Mike Dueker, Chief Economist at Russell Investments. SOUNDBITE: MIKE DUEKER, CHIEF ECONOMIST, RUSSELL INVESTMENTS SAYING (ENGLISH): "So if a Republican then tries to follow up later you might see a response from a Democratic senator saying, 'Well we already asked that question. We already went over that' and that might be sort of a sharp exchange you'll see tomorrow." Whatever form the questioning takes, there will be drama says Sam Stovall of S&P Capital I.Q. SOUNDBITE: SAM STOVALL, CHIEF EQUITY STRATEGIST, S&P CAPITAL IQ SAYING (ENGLISH): "I think there's always the potential for fireworks because fireworks cause people to sit up and pay attention and everybody who is an elected official wants to have their name be recognized and have their constituents pay attention to what they say." Yellen who is described as sharp and highly qualified is expected to be confirmed by the Senate... but not without a few knocks from lawmakers. Though there will be drama at Thursday's hearing there will be loads of substance too. The central bank says it will begin to back off or taper its bond buying program in coming months even though unemployment still remains high. Nariman Behravesh, IHS Global Insights: NARIMAN BEHRAVESH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHTS SAYING (ENGLISH): "Will she be aggressive enough in tapering the bond buying program? Will she be aggressive in raising interest rates and do it soon enough so that it doesn't trigger an increase in inflation in the U.S.? That's what they're going to come after her, maybe some kind of commitment of some kind of view on how the Fed goes here forward what Yellen would do next." The hearing gets underway at 10 a.m. eastern standard time.

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Yellen in spotlight at Senate committee hearing

Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 03:09