Yellen to testify before House panel on Feb. 11

Yellen to testify before House panel on Feb. 11
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Janet Yellen will head to Congress almost immediately after taking the reins of the Federal Reserve.

The House Financial Services Committee announced Friday that Yellen, due to take over officially as chairwoman on Feb. 3, is set to testify before the panel on Feb. 11.

Yellen takes over for Chairman Ben Bernanke as House Republicans are taking a close look at the central bank and its operations. Republicans on the committee have vowed to spend the entire year dissecting the Fed, with an eye toward legislation overhauling the institution.

“Our committee has an obligation to carefully scrutinize the Fed’s decisions and the way it communicates those decisions,” Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said.  “As the Financial Services Committee embarks upon its most vigorous and sustained oversight of the Federal Reserve ever, I look forward to working with Chairman Yellen to accomplish these goals.”

As vice chairwoman of the Fed, Yellen supported Bernanke’s efforts to boost the economy via a host of controversial stimulus measures. Republicans have been hotly critical of the Fed’s three rounds of “quantitative easing,” arguing it exposes the U.S. to damaging inflation and is ineffective.

Hensarling took that criticism a step further Friday, saying that the Fed’s policies had enabled the Obama administration by making it cheaper to borrow money.

“The Fed has helped the Obama administration finance nearly $7 trillion in new debt since 2009,” he said. “Treasury issuing record amounts of debt and the Fed buying it is a dangerous mix.  The result is more unsustainable government spending, higher deficits, a country farther along the road to national insolvency and a further erosion of the Fed’s credibility and independence.”

Yellen will follow up that appearance with one before the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 13, according to a committee aide.

Updated at 12:48 p.m.