Janet Yellen has, as expected, now been confirmed by the Senate as the next chair of the Federal Reserve. When she takes over for the departing Ben Bernanke, whose last day is January 31, she will become the first female chair ever and, very possibly, the most powerful woman in US history (at least until the New York Times gives Hillary Clinton the presidency in 2016).
Though Yellen's confirmation was approved 56-26, that was actually the slimmest margin of victory in the Fed's century-long history, as the New York Times pointed out (Bernanke's most recent term, his second, was approved 70-30 in 2010). There were also fewer votes cast, as the POLAR VORTEX prevented several senators from getting to work.
Interestingly, 11 Republicans broke ranks to vote for Yellen, who is the first Democratic nominee since 1979. Less interestingly, all 26 "no" votes were from Republicans.
President Obama nominated Yellen in October, after his first choice, Larry Summers, withdrew from consideration. Yellen has been the vice chair since 2010; before that she ran San Francisco's Federal Reserve Bank. She's also taught at Harvard and UC Berkeley.
In a statement, Obama called Yellen a "fierce champion who understands that the ultimate goal of economic and financial policymaking is to improve the lives, jobs and standard of living of American workers and their families."