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Yellen Fed nomination clears Senate procedural hurdle

Why is this woman smiling? Because she's taken one step closer to being the head of the Federal Reserve.
Why is this woman smiling? Because she's taken one step closer to being the head of the Federal Reserve. Mark Wilson

Janet Yellen, an unwavering advocate of the Federal Reserve's aggressive steps to boost the U.S. economy, on Friday took a big step toward becoming the first woman to head the central bank as her nomination cleared a Senate Republican procedural hurdle. 

On a vote of 59-34, the Senate agreed to end debate on President Barack Obama's nomination of Yellen. A vote to confirm her is set for January 6. 

If approved, as widely expected, Yellen would succeed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke after his term expires on January 31. She is currently the central bank's vice chair.