The Democratic-led US Senate is expected to wrap up its work for the year on Friday by moving to clear President Barack Obama’s nomination of Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve.
But under a bipartisan agreement reached on Thursday, the Senate will not vote to confirm Yellen, now the Fed’s vice-chair, until January 6, the day it returns for the new year. She would replace Ben Bernanke, whose term ends in late January.
The Senate is to vote at about mid-day on Friday on whether to bring debate on Yellen to a close. To prevail on this test vote and advance the nomination, Obama’s Democrats, who hold the Senate, 55-45, need a simple majority and seem certain to get it. Friday’s vote on Yellen is expected to be the final Senate vote of the year.
Under the bipartisan agreement, the Senate on Friday is also expected to confirm three other Obama nominees: Alejandro Mayorkas as deputy secretary of the department of homeland security; John Koskinen to head the Internal Revenue Service, and Brian Davis to be a federal judge in Florida.
Republicans refused requests by Democrats to carry over until next year six other Obama nominees, all to relatively low-level posts. That means they face the prospect of having to start the confirmation process all over again with Obama renominating them.
The stage was set for this end-of-year confirmation battle when Democrats changed the Senate rules last month to strip Republicans of their power
to block most of Obama’s nominees with procedural roadblocks known as filibusters. Republicans accused Democrats of an unwarranted power grab. Democrats said they did it to combat unprecedented Republican obstructionism.