U.S. Senator Paul plans 'hold' on Yellen Fed nomination

Reuters

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senator RandPaul threatened on Friday to put a 'hold' on the nomination ofJanet Yellen to be chair of the Federal Reserve unless he gets avote on a bill he has sponsored to put the central bank undermore scrutiny.

"As part of Senate consideration of the Janet Yellennomination to be chair of the Federal Reserve, I will request avote on my bipartisan Federal Reserve Transparency Act," Paulsaid in a statement. "The American people deserve transparencyfrom the Federal Reserve and the federal government as a whole."

An aide to Paul, however, said no final decision had beenmade on whether to place a hold on the nomination.

If Paul did move forward, it would force Yellen's supportersto round up 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate to confirm her.

The White House was always expected to have to secure 60 votes for the nomination to clear procedural roadblocks, andDemocrats have repeatedly expressed confidence in their abilityto do so. The swearing-in of New Jersey Democrat Cory Bookernext week will return the Senate effectively to a 55-45Democratic majority, meaning that only five Republican voteswould be needed to support Yellen.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest toldreporters aboard Air Force One that the paperwork for thenomination had been submitted to the Senate, paving the way forformal consideration.

"We look forward to the Senate confirming her swiftly and ina bipartisan fashion for this very important role," he said.

A Senate Banking Committee aide separately said that some ofher paperwork had been received from the White House and herhearing was expected to be scheduled for next month.

The banking panel, on which Democrats have a four-voteadvantage, needs to vet the nomination before it goes before thefull Senate for a final vote.

Although Yellen, currently the Fed's vice chair, is expectedto win confirmation, the process is likely to be contentious.Many Republicans have criticized the central bank's aggressiveeasing of monetary policy as a dangerous courtship of inflationthat also risks fueling asset bubbles.

To lay groundwork ahead of her hearing, Yellen has beenlining up meetings with key members of the banking panel. Sheplans to meet with Republican Senator Richard Shelby next week,while Senator Bob Corker, also a Republican, is in talks to setup a meeting. Both are expected to oppose her nomination.

Paul's bill would open up the Fed's monetary policydecisions to congressional audit, a step Fed officials haveargued would undercut the central bank's political independence.The bill is co-sponsored by 24 Republicans and one Democrat.

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