WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen is poised to become today the most powerful woman banker in modern history.
The U.S. Senate is expected to move late today on her confirmation vote to head the Federal Reserve, clearing the way for her to succeed Ben Bernanke when his term ends on Jan. 31.
Yellen is currently the Fed's vice chair, and has been a partner with Bernanke in launching the unusual bond-buying program called quantitative easing. It has helped stimulate the U.S. economy in what's been a slow recovery from the Great Recession.
It will fall to Yellen to unwind the unconventional economic support from the Fed, and in a way that doesn't create panic in financial markets. Bernanke announced in December that the Fed would begin tapering back in January what had been $85 billion a month in purchases of U.S. government and mortgage bonds.
The Fed is expected to taper throughout the year, and is not expected to begin raising its benchmark federal funds rate, which influences lending rates across the economy, until next year at the earliest.