The title of a Bloomberg article released on November 20, 2013 is “Five Senate REPUBLICANS BACK (?) Yellen for Fed Chairman” (Web-site/URL: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-20/four-senate-republicans-back-yellen-for-u-s-fed-chairman.html).
How strong is this “backing?” “Five Senate Republicans say they’re inclined to support Janet Yellen to be chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, which SHOULD give her the 60 votes she needs to be confirmed” without the dreaded FILIBUSTER..
“Republicans Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah said in interviews at the Capitol that they would PROBABLY SUPPORT Yellen when the nomination comes to the Senate floor, which may occur the week of Dec. 9 (2013)”. “probably” IS NOT a guarantee. “Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee announced today (November 20 2013) that he also WOULD support her“. Notice “would”. So, CORKER is saying YES HE WILL SUPPORT Yellen. So, so far Yellen has ONE “yes” (Corker) and FOUR “maybes” . “The Banking Committee plans to vote tomorrow (November 21, 2013) on advancing Yellen (Yellen’s nomination)”.
“In a news release”, Corker said: “In the end, I DO believe she HAS the qualifications necessary to be the Fed chairman and plan to SUPPORT her nomination“. OK. This is POSITIVE..
“When asked if he would back her (Yellen’s) nomination”, Coburn said: ““I’m INCLINED TO (back her nomination). She’s OBVIOUSLY QUALIFIED. I DON’T agree with A LOT of her philosophy (obviously), but she’s qualified”. Well, being “qualified” is ALL THAT COUNTS. “I don’t agree with a lot of her philosophy” suggests that Coburn DISAGREES WITH Yellen, but THERE IS LITTLE IF ANYTHING HE CAN DO TO STOP HER CONFIRMATION. So, Coburn is GRUDGINGLY saying “yes”. He said yesterday (November 19 2013) he’s “INCLINED TO SUPPORT her” when asked about his position on her nomination”. “inclined” IS NOT a guarantee.
“Collins said she was “CERTAINLY INCLINED TO SUPPORT” Yellen, adding, “I believe that she’s WELL QUALIFIED for the position”. Again being “well-qualified” for the position should be ALL THAT MATTERS. ALL POLITICAL BIASES SHOULD BE PUT ASIDE. Collins acts in a bi-partisan manner MOST of the time.
“Corker, a member of the banking panel (the Senate Banking Committee), met with Yellen (on) Nov. 18 (2013). He said today (November 20 2013) that she made a commitment to moderate Fed purchases of mortgage bonds as soon as she believes “the data supports that action and shows that THE CURRENT STATUS (i.e. the status quo) CANNOT CONTINUE”.
“Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns, a Republican member of the banking panel (the Senate Banking Committee), announced today (November 20 2013) that he would OPPOSE Yellen. He said he DIDN’T find her lacking in qualifications, yet he was concerned that the Fed’s “policies of INDEFINITE stimulus will have negative long-term economic consequences. I CANNOT support Ms. Yellen’s nomination because, given many opportunities, she never did distance herself from these EASY-MONEY policies”. It’s as if the GOP ISN’T associated with “easy-money policies”. Of course NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
“Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Alabama’s Richard Shelby, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, North Dakota’s John Hoeven, Arizona’s John McCain and Kansas’ Pat Roberts are among other Senate Republicans who have said they probably or definitely will VOTE AGAINST Yellen’s confirmation”. Rand Paul will surely “vote against Yellen’s confirmation” because as we know Paul is a member of the hated TEA PARTY whose members have made it very clear that they will STAND IN THE WAY/OBSTRUCT VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING while the others are all CONSERVATIVE Republicans.
“At least TWO Republican senators — Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — said yesterday (November 19, 2013) that THEY HADN’T MADE UP THEIR MINDS ABOUT Yellen and DIDN’T RULE OUT SUPPORTING HER“. “didn’t rule out supporting her” suggests that Ayotte and Murkowski are two more POTENTIAL GOP votes.
In a letter to Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana (a member of the Senate Banking Committee who said he would vote AGAINST Yellen’s nomiantion), Yellen defended the central bank’s bond purchases, saying they boosted economic growth and provided BENEFITS that EXCEEDED THE RISKS“. “By putting DOWNWARD pressure on LONGER-TERM interest rates and helping to make financial conditions more accommodating, the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases have SUPPORTED A STRONGER ECONOMIC RECOVERY, IMPROVED LABOR MARKET CONDITIONS and helped keep inflation closer to its 2% objective”.
In conclusion, the support of these 5 GOP senators should give Yellen the magic number of 60 votes she needs to avoid a filibuster. However, as we know, any or all of these 5 senators could bail out at ANY time, so Janet Yellen’s confirmation process is the latest event to watch/keep a CLOSE eye on.