WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee is considering holding a hearing on Janet Yellen’s nomination to head the Federal Reserve on November 14, a Senate aide said on Monday.
President Barack Obama nominated Yellen on October 9 to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the U.S. central bank when his term ends on January 31.
The banking committee needs to vet the nomination before it can go to the full Senate for final consideration.
Yellen, who will begin preliminary meetings with members of the banking panel later this week, can expect tough questioning from Republicans on the committee, although they are outnumbered by Obama’s Democrats, who occupy 12 of its 20 seats.
She is viewed as a safe bet to win confirmation, but will still need to sway some Republicans to her side in order to secure the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles. Democrats control 55 seats in the 100-seat Senate.
Republican Senator Rand Paul said last week he was thinking of putting a ‘hold’ on her nomination unless a vote was allowed on his proposal for more transparency at the U.S. central bank.
Other Republican critics are expected to use the banking panel hearing as an opportunity to highlight their concerns about the Fed’s ultra-easy monetary policy, which they fear risks financial instability and future inflation.
The U.S. central bank has held interest rates near zero since late 2008 and quadrupled the size of its balance sheet to over $3.7 trillion through three rounds of massive bond buying campaigns aimed at holding down long-term b borrowing costs.
Yellen, who has stoutly supported Bernanke’s championship of these bold measures, is viewed as a monetary policy dove for her tolerance of a little bit more inflation if this means that policy succeeds in bringing unemployment down faster.
Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Sandra Maler