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Senate confirms Yellen to lead Federal Reserve

    FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, Janet Yellen, of California, President Barack Obama's nominee to become Federal Reserve Board chair, is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, prior to testifying before the Senate Committee hearing on her nomination to succeed Ben Bernanke. The Federal Reserve celebrates 100th birthday at a time of unprecedented global influence on Monday, Dec. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON >> The Senate has easily approved Janet Yellen’s nomination to head the Federal Reserve.

Today’s 56-26 vote makes Yellen the first woman to lead the central bank in its century-long history. It puts an economist in the post who has long focused on fighting unemployment and who backed the Fed’s recent efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and huge bond purchases.

Yellen begins her four-year term as chair on Feb. 1. She replaces Ben Bernanke, who has held the job for eight years dominated by the Great Recession and his efforts to fight it.

Yellen has been Fed vice chair since 2010.

Nominated in October by President Barack Obama, Yellen will be the first Fed chair picked by a Democrat since President Jimmy Carter chose Paul Volcker.

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