Janet Yellen listens Oct. 9 as President Obama speaks during a press conference to nominate her to head the Federal Reserve.
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)
Sen. Rand Paul is threatening to block President Obama's nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next Federal Reserve chief.
According to a report Friday on CNBC cable financial news network, Paul intends to put a hold on Yellen's nomination next week to force a Senate vote on a bill he has proposed that would require audits of the Fed's policymaking deliberations. He has also hinted at blocking the nomination in recent remarks to his supporters.
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In a statement Friday, the Kentucky Republican said "as part of Senate consideration of the Janet Yellen nomination to be chair of the Fed," he will request a vote on his "Transparency Act." His office declined further comment.
A Senate hearing and vote on the nomination of Yellen, who is currently the Fed's vice chair, to succeed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, could take place next month.
Bernanke has said he plans to step down Jan. 31., when his current term ends. Yellen, 67, would be the first woman to lead the central bank.
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It would require 60 votes for the Senate to break a hold. As of next week, when newly elected Democrat Cory Booker of New Jersey takes his seat, Democrats will hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate.
Carl Tobias, a constitutional law professor at the University of Richmond, says there are almost certainly five Republican votes to join Democrats and break a hold, though sucha move by Paul could delay Yellen's nomination for up to a few weeks.
Still, "I just don't think there's stomach there to make much of a fuss about this" after Republicans took a beating in the opinion polls over the recent federal government shutdown, Tobias says.
Paul's Fed transparency bill is similar to legislation that his father, retired Texas Rep. Ron Paul, previously introduced in the House. There are no scheduled votes for that legislation.
"The American people deserve transparency from the Federal Reserve and the federal government as a whole," Rand's statement Friday. said.