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Reid expects Yellen to be 'easily' confirmed as Fed chair

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) looks on after announcing his nomination of Janet Yellen (R) to head the Federal Reserve at the White House
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) looks on after announcing his nomination of Janet Yellen (R) to head the Federal Reserve at the White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's nomination of Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve appears headed toward a smooth confirmation by the Democratic-led Senate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday.

"I think she'll be confirmed quite easily," Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told his weekly news conference.

Reid dismissed Republican Senator Rand Paul's threat to place "a hold" on the nomination unless there is a vote on Paul's proposal to require greater transparency at the U.S. central bank.

Reid, who is pushing for votes on a number of administration nominees in coming days and weeks, said, "I'm not going to have one senator, two senators, hold up these votes."

To end "a hold" on a nominee, Reid would need to muster the support of at least 60 of the Senate's 100 members. Democrats now control the Senate, 54-46.

But with Yellen likely to draw broad bipartisan support, she is expected to draw far more than 60 votes, senior Democrats said.

Yellen, currently the Fed's vice chair, is expected to begin courtesy visits later this week with members of the Senate Banking Committee, which will hold her confirmation hearing, likely on November 14.

If confirmed, she would replace Ben Bernanke when his term as Fed chair expires at the end of January.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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