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U.S. Senator Shelby says not committed to Yellen for Fed

Janet Yellen (C), nominee to be the next chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, meets with Senate Banking Commitee member Senator Richard She
Janet Yellen (C), nominee to be the next chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, meets with Senate Banking Commitee member Senator Richard She

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Richard Shelby, a critic of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said on Thursday he was not committed to supporting Janet Yellen as the next Fed chair.

President Barack Obama nominated Yellen, the current Fed vice chair, to take the top job at the U.S. central bank when current chief Ben Bernanke leaves in January. Yellen's nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.

Yellen has lined up meetings with key senators, including Shelby, ahead of a confirmation hearing expected in mid-November.

Asked after meeting with Yellen if he supported her nomination, Shelby told reporters: "I am not committed to her."

"We talked about some things that concern me, such as the huge portfolio that the Fed is accumulating," said Shelby, who voted against Yellen's 2010 nomination as Fed vice chair.

The Fed has cut interest rates to near zero and has more than quadrupled its balance sheet to $3.8 trillion through its bond purchases to help stimulate the economy.

Shelby has said he has concerns about Yellen's "proclivity to print money" and her record as a bank regulator.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Writing by Krista Hughes; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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