In a bipartisan vote, the US Senate has confirmed Janet Yellen as the new chair of the Federal Reserve. She is the first woman to hold the position and replaces Ben Bernanke, who served for eight years.
Although Yellen was confirmed by a 56-26 vote on Monday, some Republican lawmakers were critical of her support for quantitative easing, a controversial policy in which the Federal Reserve has printed money to stimulate America's flagging economy.
"The Fed has seen its balance sheet more than quadruple from $800 billion to more than $4 trillion," Senate Republican Chuck Grassley said. The 26 "no" votes were all Republicans.
"The stock market has become addicted to the Fed's easy money policies," he added. "It appears that Ms. Yellen will continue to pursue these misguided policies."
'Americans should feel reassured'
But the Obama administration has portrayed Yellen, 67, as a veteran policymaker who will help guide the still weak US economy out of the turmoil caused by the 2008 financial crisis.
Yellen chaired President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors and has taught economics at the University of California at Berkeley.
"Americans should feel reassured that we will have her at the helm of the Fed as our nation continues to recover from the Great Recession," said Senate Banking Committee chairman Tim Johnson.
"Dr. Yellen's leadership will also be critical as the Fed completes Wall Street reform ... and continues to enhance the stability of our financial sector," Johnson added.
President Barack Obama nominated Yellen in October, after originally considering former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers for the job. But Summers withdrew from the running when opponents criticized his temperament and past support for bank deregulation.
Yellen will assume her new position on February 1st.
slk/lw (AP, AFP)