Pundits and prognosticators have been launching
open-letters, tweets, and missives on who should be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve when Ben Bernanke’s term expires in January, infusing drama into a monetary body that is supposed to be apolitical.
The conventional wisdom, for now at least, is that Larry Summers will receive the nomination. The betting site Paddy Power has him at the best odds — 2/5.
People also seem to think President Obama will have a tough time getting Summers through the nomination process, particularly if he expends his political capital with liberals by whipping up a vote on Syria.
But let’s say President Obama does tap Summers and the Senate confirmation drags on — as Senate confirmations often do — through the end of Chairman Bernanke’s term. Politico’s Kate Davidson answers the question:
Though a handful of former Fed chairmen have continued to lead the central bank beyond their terms, the Federal Reserve Act stipulates that, in the absence of the chairman, the vice chairman will take over — in this case that’s Yellen.
So Janet Yellen, who many suspected would succeed Bernanke until the White House began floating Summers’ name, could lawfully take the central bank’s helm as her opponent’s confirmation drags on.