Manchin explains Yellen opposition

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he had fundamental policy disagreements with Janet Yellen, explaining his surprising vote against her nomination to head the Federal Reserve.

In a lengthy statement, Manchin said he opposed Yellen’s nomination in the Senate Banking Committee due to her continued support for the Fed’s stimulus policies.

Manchin said that Fed efforts at “quantitative easing” have been ineffective, and Yellen had given him no indication, either during her hearing or in a private meeting, that she planned to back away from the practice.

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“I believe that Dr. Yellen is a very intelligent and capable nominee, but her views and beliefs to continue quantitative easing, despite a failure to see any real gains, greatly troubles me,” he said. “We continue this risky endeavor without seeing the gains we expected… her views on the Federal Reserve’s direction force me to oppose her nomination.”

Manchin was the only Democrat on the committee to oppose Yellen’s nomination to replace Chairman Ben Bernanke at the top of the central bank. Three Republicans — Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) — joined Democrats in supporting the nomination. Yellen advanced by a vote of 14-8.

Every member that bucked his party gave similar justifications for their vote. For Republicans, they all said they did not agree with Yellen’s support for the Fed’s stimulus policies, but pointed to her unquestionable qualifications as reasons to back the pick. For Manchin, he praised her experience, but pointed to her policy outlook as a reason to oppose.

Yellen’s nomination now advances to the full Senate. She was expected to be confirmed by the chamber even before Senate Democrats agreed to change procedural rules to allow nominations to be confirmed by a simple majority.