Ohio Sen. Brown backing Yellen for Fed chair

By Abby Smith

Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Sen. Sherrod Brown circulated a letter yesterday calling on President Barack Obama to appoint Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve System.

The letter, written by Brown and signed by as many as 20 Senate Democrats, commended Yellen’s career, saying she has had a “solid record as a bank regulator.”

Brown’s office declined to make the letter public. However the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Brown was the letter’s author.

Yellen, 66, currently vice chairwoman of the Fed, is competing against former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers for the position. Summers, a former president of Harvard University, served as chairman of Obama’s National Economic Council and is believed to be Obama’s preferred candidate.

Brown said in the letter that Yellen is a stronger candidate due to her “significant monetary policy experience,” as she has been deputy under Bernanke since 2010 and was previously president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

In the letter, Brown praised Yellen’s ability to recognize the housing bubble of 2008 as a national threat, a feat that he said “speaks to her independence, intellectual rigor and willingness to challenge conventional wisdom regarding deregulation – traits essential for a successful Fed Chairman.”

Yellen is a 1966 graduate of Brown University and earned a Ph.D in economics from Yale in 1971. If Yellen were to be nominated and confirmed, she would be the first woman to chair the board.

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