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Yellen Confirmed as Fed Chief

"Janet Yellen will join the ranks of the most powerful economic policy makers in the world next month, taking the helm of the Federal Reserve at a time when the central bank is assessing its unprecedented steps to buoy the U.S. economy.

"The 67-year-old Ms. Yellen, currently the vice chairwoman of the Fed's board of governors, will become the first woman to lead the central bank in its 100-year history after the Senate voted to confirm her Monday night in a 56-26 vote. Eleven Republicans joined 45 Democrats to support her; no Democrats opposed her. Weather-related travel problems caused some lawmakers to miss the vote.

"Expected to assume office on Feb. 1, Ms. Yellen will immediately be forced to grapple with questions over whether the economy that is on the mend can withstand further dialing back of the Fed's latest bond-buying program, which she has championed. If the Fed moves too fast, it could cool the recovery. If it moves too slowly, it could fuel asset bubbles or excessive inflation. The Fed cited improvements in growth and employment in December when it decided to trim its bond buys to $75 billion a month from $85 billion."

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