Obama nominates "tough, proven leader" Janet Yellen to lead Fed

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Federal Reserve vice chairwoman Janet Yellen to serve as the first ever woman to run the Fed. If the Senate confirms Yellen's nomination, she would be the first chairwoman of the Federal Reserve.

Noting that nominating a Federal Reserve chairman is "one of the most important economic decisions I'll make as president," Mr. Obama hailed Yellen for her years of experience and her "renowned good judgment."

"She is a proven leader and she's tough, not just because she's from Brooklyn," Mr. Obama said.

The president noted that Yellen sounded the alarm early about the housing bubble and the subsequent economic crisis.

"She doesn't have a crystal ball, but what she does have is a keen understanding about how markets and the economy work, not just in theory, but also in the real world. And she calls it like she sees it," he said. "She is held in high esteem by colleagues across the country and around the world who look to the United States, as I said, and the Fed for leadership."

Mr. Obama said Yellen is committed to the Fed's dual mandate of sound monetary policy to keep inflation in check and increasing employment.

Yellen is expected to extend the policies of current chairman Ben Bernanke when he ends his term in January. In his eight years as Fed chairman, Bernanke has taken aggressive steps to bolster the economy, particularly after the recession, such as buying bonds and other assets to pump money into the economy in a policy known as quantitative easing.

Yellen said she would do her best to "promote maximum employment, stable prices, and a strong and stable financial system."

"The past six years have been tumultuous for the economy and challenging for many Americans," she said. "While I think we all agree, Mr. President, that more needs to be done to strengthen the recovery -- particularly for those hardest hit by the great recession -- we have made progress. The economy is stronger, and the financial system sounder."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, called Yellen an "excellent choice" for the job and said he expects the Senate to confirm the nomination "by a wide margin."

Some Republicans, however, have expressed concern about the possibility that Yellen will continue the Fed's current policies.

"Ms. Yellen subscribes to the liberal school of thought that the best way to handle our nation's fiscal challenges is to throw more money at them," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said in a statement. "This stimulus obsession is the reason the nation finds itself in the fiscal calamity it does today, and the last thing we need is a leader at the helm of the Federal Reserve who is intent on more quantitative easing that harms our economy."

Opposition from Cornyn, who is responsible for whipping votes among Senate Republicans, could signal trouble for Yellen.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, was more subdued in his reaction, noting his committee would carefully review the nomination.

"The next Fed Chair faces a unique set of challenges, including winding down unconventional monetary policy, implementing a long list of unfinished rules under Dodd-Frank without over-regulating the community banking sector, and effectively communicating future policies to the markets and the public," he said in a statement. "I continue to strongly disagree with the Fed's use of quantitative easing, and am eager to learn Ms. Yellen's vision for the direction of the Federal Reserve as we go through the nomination process."