Senate banking committee

James Politi

Janet Yellen has just released her statement to the Senate banking committee, where she – along with Sarah Raskin and Peter Diamond, other nominees to the Federal Reserve board - faces a grilling from lawmakers today on her bid to become vice-chair of the Federal Reserve replacing Don Kohn.

Ms Yellen, president of the San Francisco Fed, is predictably cautious as she introduces herself to the panel: “I am wholeheartedly committed to pursuing the Fed’s congressionally mandated goals of maximum employment and price stability and to strengthening our programme of supervision and regulation, building on the lessons learned during the financial crisis.”

Her statement gets a little meatier later on, and, reading through the lines, there are two main messages. On monetary policy, Ms Yellen still believes plan A is an eventual tightening. And to Congress, Ms Yellen is very clear: independence is crucial to central banking, so hands off the Fed ! Read more

James Politi

Don Kohn is set to end his tenure as vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve tomorrow, but, at the request of his boss Ben Bernanke, he will be staying on as governor until September 1 at the latest.

The hope within the central bank is that as early as next month the Senate will begin to move towards confirming Mr Kohn’s replacement, Janet Yellen, currently president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Also on the Senate’s docket are the nominations of Peter Diamond, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, and Sarah Bloom Raskin, the Maryland banking regulator, which would complete the seven-member board of governors.

Their nominations have stalled in Congress mainly for logistical reasons: Read more

James Politi

After Ben Bernanke was confirmed for a second term as Fed chairman back in January, the political heat surrounding the US central bank died down a little.

But with the Fed re-establishing currency swap lines with the European Central Bank and others over the weekend to help the strains of the sovereign debt crisis, some lawmakers have ratcheted up their criticism again. Read more