10/08/2013 06:58 pm ET Updated Oct 09, 2013

Obama To Nominate Janet Yellen For Fed Chair

President Barack Obama plans to announce his nomination of Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen for the central bank's leading role, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Obama will be joined by Yellen and current Fed Chair Ben Bernanke for the announcement at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, a White House official told The Huffington Post.

If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would be the first woman to serve as chair of the Federal Reserve, and would take over when Bernanke's term ends in January.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who endorsed Yellen for the position last month, said he's confident about a Senate confirmation.

"She’s an excellent choice and I believe she’ll be confirmed by a wide margin," Schumer said in a statement.

Working up to the nomination, Yellen received widespread support from the liberal community. 20 Democratic senators sent a letter to Obama encouraging him to consider her for the position in July, citing Yellen's "independence, intellectual rigor and willingness to challenge conventional wisdom regarding deregulation -- traits essential for a successful Fed Chairman."

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers was considered a frontrunner for the position until he withdrew his name from consideration in September. Yellen has been regarded as the clear leader since his announcement.

The nomination didn't come easily for Yellen. Obama staunchly defended Summers as a top contender, giving congressional Democrats a "full-throated defense" of the former Treasury Secretary in a closed July meeting, faulting The Huffington Post for making Summers "a progressive whipping boy." According to The Hill, Obama went so far as to tell the senators "not to believe everything you read in The Huffington Post."

Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, released a statement congratulating Yellen on her nomination. He applauded the vice chair's support for rules-based policy, and said he hopes Yellen will set a precedent for transparency. The House has no say in the confirmation process, but Hensarling's statement is evidence that Schumer's vote-counting appears realistic.

Sabrina Siddiqui contributed reporting.



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