By Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON Jan 2 Janet Yellen came a step
closer to final approval as the Federal Reserve's next chair
after the U.S. Senate set a Monday vote on President Barack
Obama's choice to succeed Ben Bernanke.
The Senate is expected to vote at around 5:30 p.m. EST (2230
GMT) Monday on Yellen, according to a Senate Democratic
Yellen, who would become the first woman to chair the U.S.
central bank, would take the reins on Feb. 1, one day after
Bernanke ends a two-term stint during which he reached deep into
the Fed's monetary toolbox to try to revive an economy hit by a
massive financial crisis that sent it into the worst downturn in
Yellen has been deeply involved in the decisions to press
the Fed into uncharted monetary policy waters, as the Fed's vice
chair since 2010 and before that as chief of the San Francisco
As she steps into her new role, her biggest challenge will
likely be to begin to pare back the Fed's crisis-era stimulus.
The bank took a first step in that direction last month when
policymakers voted to pare its massive bond-buying stimulus
program to $75 billion a month from $85 billion.
The Senate on Dec. 20 voted 59-34 to move forward with
Yellen's nomination, indicating she had enough support to win
Bernanke's second four-year term expires on Jan. 31.