U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen testifies during a Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in this file photo taken November 14, 2013.
Joshua Roberts/Reuters

‘The most qualified Fed chair in history’

When President Obama nominated Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve, it seemed like the ultimate in political no-brainers. She ran the San Francisco Fed, ran the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, did three years on the Fed Board of Governors, and is the board’s current vice-chair. When Dylan Matthews called her “perhaps the most qualified Fed chair in history,” no one disagreed.
But note that when the Senate Banking Committee voted to send Yellen’s nomination to the floor for confirmation, the vote was 14 to 8 – and most of the Republicans on the panel opposed her.
When it comes time for the full Senate to vote, it seems likely we’ll see a similar breakdown. Indeed, right-wing activist groups are demanding it.
Janet Yellen’s nomination to take over the Federal Reserve ran into conservative opposition on Monday as the advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation urged senators to vote against her.
Heritage Action announced Monday that it would include a vote on Yellen’s nomination, which is expected to take place in December, on its congressional scorecard. A vote in favor of Yellen will be rated negatively. The group argues Yellen has failed to present a plan to wind down the Fed’s massively expanded portfolio and said that is reason for the Senate to block her nomination.
Thanks to the “nuclear option” there’s very little chance Yellen’s nomination will fail - Joe Manchin appears to be her only Democratic opponent – but it now seems likely that most Senate Republicans will oppose the most qualified Fed nominee since the institution was founded.
As for whether Yellen’s detractors have a credible case against her, Republican senators have struggled to remain coherent on the issue, as have those at conservative think tanks pushing “ridiculous” arguments.