Janet Yellen's Senate Confirmation Expected By Saturday, Starts Today

Friday will see the Senate's last vote of 2013 before disbanding for the holidays — and they're expected to clear Janet Yellen to become chair of the Federal Reserve. Woohoo! But hold up just a sec: thanks to a bipartisan agreement reached Thursday, the winning vote won't officially confirm Yellen as chair. But it will end all debate over her nomination, thus unofficially signaling her appointment. The real confirmation vote will take place Jan. 6, and Yellen, in all likelihood, will take the position — and if so, she'll be the first woman in the role.

Yellen, the former vice-chair of the Federal Reserve, enjoys strong support among Senate members, particularly its Democratic women. In fact, 38 of them sent Obama a letter urging Yellen's nomination.

As a Brooklyn girl, Yellen seems bent on making what's going on financially a little more transparent to regular Americans. Plus, her credentials make her popular overseas as well. As we reported in November:

In her first public remarks on Fed policy since June 2, Yellen took a firm defensive stance on the bank’s stimulus, whilst also humbly confessing that “the Fed did miss a lot of the linkages that caused the financial crisis.” She expressed a strong commitment to fixing the unemployment problem, which at 7.3 percent at present are looking far better thanthe mid-recession peak of 10 percent. ”We have made good progress, but we have farther to go to regain the ground lost in the crisis and the recession,” she said.

More good news: Yellen knows we’re all kinda struggling to understand America’s financial bureaucracy, and she’s been an outspoken about her hope of improving its transparency. ”Monetary policy is most effective when the public understands what the Fed is trying to do, and how it plans to do it,” she said ...

Given the 67-year old economics professor’s pretty fantastic credentials, she might just be the person to spearhead a strong economic recovery. And investors seemed to trust her judgment, too: stocks reached an all-session high during her testimony today, and continued to rise in Europe.

And the Senate will also vote on other nominees' appointments this morning: Alejandro Mayorkas for deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Koskinen for commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and Brian Davis as a U.S. district judge in Florida.

But the Republican Party are sticking their noses in, to the surprise of almost no-one: The party has refused to allow other low-level Obama nominations to be cleared in the new year, effectively meaning that Obama is going to have to start the nomination process for those candidates all over again, since they didn't vote on them this year.

Sigh. Well, we were never going to get everything wrapped up in one go, were we?