Senate confirms Yellen to lead Federal Reserve

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2013 file photo, Janet Yellen, of California, smiles as she is introduced as being the first female to be nominated as Federal Reserve Board chair, prior to testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. Yellen was approved by the Senate on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, as the first woman to head the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2013 file photo, Janet Yellen, of California, smiles as she is introduced as being the first female to be nominated as Federal Reserve Board chair, prior to testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. Yellen was approved by the Senate on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, as the first woman to head the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has easily approved Janet Yellen's nomination to head the Federal Reserve.

Monday'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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