Yellen advances to final vote in January

The Senate voted 59-34 Friday to end debate on the nomination of Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve, setting up a final vote in January.

GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted with Democrats to end debate on her nomination.

Yellen would replace Ben Bernanke, who has held the position since 2006, while becoming the first woman to lead the central bank.

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But her confirmation vote won’t happen until the Senate returns on Jan. 6 as part of a deal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced late Thursday.

The agreement allowed the Senate to confirm three of President Obama’s nominees before the holiday break, rather than the 10 Democrats had sought. But that saved the Senate from early morning Friday votes and weekend work.

Republicans had been forcing all post-cloture time be used on several major pieces of legislation and other nominations to protest the filibuster rule change. Last month, Democrats unilaterally voted to change the Senate filibuster rules, allowing some executive and judicial nominees to advance on a simple-majority vote rather than 60-votes.

Earlier this week, Reid filed cloture on 10 Obama nominees. He said he would keep the Senate in session through Christmas Eve in order to complete work on the nominations, but the deal prevented that from happening.

The Senate also voted 68-26 Friday to confirm the nomination of Brian Davis to be U.S. district judge for the District of Florida. His nomination had been pending for nearly two years.