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Senate confirms historic Yellen appointment as big tests await

Her resume is flawless. Her credentials and experience are unrivaled, and her array of global contacts is second to none. But for all the qualities that incoming, and just confirmed Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen possesses, things are about to dramatically change, now that she’s in the top spot.

Nowhere will that change be more stark than in her newfound visibility and availability, especially with lawmakers, who will be pestering her for private meetings and phone calls and hounding her in legislative hearings.

“If (Senator) Rand Paul wants to go off into left field and continue this anti-Yellen discussion, that’s his behavior and its up to the people of Kentucky to decide what to do with him,” says David Kotok, chair and CIO of Cumberland Advisors in the attached video. 

In fairness, Kotok calls himself “an unabashed fan and champion” of the first female Fed chair, and thinks her time in the hot seat will be no problem.

“Yellen has facts. She’s articulate. She‘s very clear and precise and not flamboyant,” he says, adding that he thinks “she will handle Congress very well.”

Maybe. But there’s really no comparison between the duties of a chairman and a vice chair; to wit, this study by The Hill which showed Ben Bernanke had 90 lawmakers meetings from late 2010 while Yellen (as vice chair) had just three.  ()

In addition, plenty has been said and written about how the newly minted Fed leader will react under pressure when inevitable tests arise given her long standing dovish bias.

“If we get a flare of inflation,” for example Kotok says, “I would not expect the Yellen Fed to sit still. She knows she must be prepared to change things if circumstances change,” he adds.

Her first solo meeting of the FOMC is scheduled for March 18 and 19, which will be followed by a quarterly press conference. And then, the following week, she’ll be sitting down in front of the the joint House and Senate finance committee to deliver the semi-annual monetary report to Congress.

Disclaimer: Merrill Lynch is not responsible for the editorial content of this program.

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