Senate panel to vote on Yellen on Nov 21

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Senate Banking Committee will vote on Thursday on Janet Yellen's nomination to succeed Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chair, the panel said on Monday. 

Dr Yellen, currently Fed vice chair, is expected to gain approval, after breezing through a two-hour confirmation hearing last Thursday.

She defended current Fed easy-money policies, fielding mostly easy questions even from committee Republicans who had expressed doubts earlier about the central bank's stimulus operations.

The committee has 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans, making it highly likely her nomination will be forwarded to the entire Senate.

There confirmation could be held up by one or more Republican senators who are threatening to stall it to force concessions on their own political agendas.

Dr Yellen, 67, was picked by President Barack Obama to replace Bernanke when he leaves the post as Fed chief at the end of eight years in the job on January 31.

A close confidant of Bernanke, Yellen is not expected to move the Fed away from his signature policies, including an US$85 billion (S$106 billion) a month bond buying program aimed at boosting growth, and greater transparency on the thinking of Fed policy makers.

"We have made good progress, but we have farther to go to regain the ground lost in the crisis and the recession," she told the panel.

"I consider it imperative to do what we can to promote a very strong recovery."