WASHINGTON — A Senate panel Thursday advanced Janet Yellen’s nomination to lead the Federal Reserve, setting up a final vote in the full Senate after lawmakers return from a two-week Thanksgiving break.
The Senate Banking Committee approved her nomination on a 14-8 vote.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-V.Wa., was the only Democrat to oppose Yellen’s nomination. Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mark Kirk of Illinois supported her.
Yellen’s path to confirmation also became easier Thursday when the full Senate voted to change its rules for approving all presidential nominees other than Supreme Court selections. Now a simple majority will be required, instead of 60 votes.
Republicans could still try to delay the final vote to focus attention on other issues. For example, Sen. Lindsey Graham has threatened to hold up nominations for government positions until survivors of last year’s deadly attack on the diplomatic post in Libya appear before Congress.
But Democrats control 55 votes in the chamber, so such tactics could easily be overcome.
Yellen was nominated by President Obama in October to succeed Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term as chairman will end Jan. 31.
She would be the first woman to lead the Fed and the first Democrat to do so since Paul Volcker stepped down in 1987.