Yellen lining up meetings with senators ahead of Fed hearing

WASHINGTON Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:11pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama announces his nomination of Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve at the White House in Washington October 9, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama announces his nomination of Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve at the White House in Washington October 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Janet Yellen is lining up meetings with key members of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee over coming weeks, Senate aides said on Thursday, in preparation for a potentially contentious hearing on her nomination to be next chair of the Federal Reserve.

Arch Fed critic Republican Senator Richard Shelby will meet her next week, according to his spokesman Jonathan Graffeo, while Republican Senator Bob Corker's office is talking with the Fed to get a date for a meeting.

Both lawmakers voted against her nomination in 2010 as Fed vice chair and are expected to led critical questioning before the banking panel on the Fed's ultra-easy monetary policy, which they say risks financial instability and future inflation.

The hearing to vet her for the top Fed job, before passing the nomination onto the full Senate for a vote, is not expected to be held before mid-November.

President Barack Obama nominated Yellen on October 9 to replace Fed chief Ben Bernanke when his term ends on January 31.

Republicans, eager to attack Obama's track record on the economy, are likely to be critical of Yellen's past public statements which mark her as a policy dove who favors action to drive unemployment down faster and is less worried by inflation.

But with Obama's Democrats controlling the Senate and 12 of the 20 seats on the Banking Committee, she is expected to get sufficient bipartisan support to secure the necessary 60 votes needed to clear Senate procedural hurdles and win confirmation.

Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown has a meeting with Yellen in early November. "He's interested in the Fed's dual mandate and the importance of reducing unemployment, (as well as) housing, and capital standards," said spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak.

Congress has mandated that the central bank pursue maximum employment and price stability.

Democratic Senator Jon Tester's office confirmed that he would meet Yellen in the first week of November.

(Reporting by Alister Bull and Emily Stephenson; Editing by Eric Beech)

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