A White House spokesman said Friday that President Obama is confident that his pick to head up the Federal Reserve will be confirmed in a timely fashion.
"We're very confident that Janet Yellen is absolutely the right candidate for the job," White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a briefing Friday. "Her hearing yesterday we felt went very well."
Some Senate Republicans have threatened to block Yellen's nomination when it reaches the Senate floor, but most observers feel that her bid to replace outgoing Fed chair Ben Bernanke is unlikely to be entirely derailed. That's good news for the mortgage industry, which has seen historically low rates as a result of Bernanke's easy-money policies -- policies Yellen, a budget dove, is likely to continue.
At a Thursday hearing before the Senate banking committee, Yellen indicated she would keep the Fed's $85bn-per-month "quantitative easing" program in place for the time being. While she said the housing and auto markets had seen big gains since the start of the recession, a still-high jobless rate indicated "a labor market and economy performing far short of their potential."
“I believe that supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy,” she said.
Some Republican lawmakers demanded a timetable for tapering the QE program, but Yellen refused to be pinned down to a specific date.
“There is no set time when we will decide whether to reduce the pace of our purchases,” she said.