WASHINGTON — A group of 37 female House Democrats are asking President Obama to name Janet Yellen, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Fed when his term expires.

The request comes as the public debate over two top candidates for the job, Yellen and Larry Summers, an economist and Obama adviser, heats up, with lawmakers, pundits and others sounding off on who would make the best pick.

Yellen "has demonstrated a unique understanding of the impact of the Federal Reserve's policies on the middle-class," said lawmakers, including Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, in the letter. "During the subprime bubble, at a time when many economists were optimistic about unprecedented growth in the economy, she saw the bubble for what it was and predicted disaster in the banking system."

The letter added: "Just as importantly, she has demonstrated an understanding of the impact of the financial crisis on average Americans and the urgent need to implement financial reform quickly in order to prevent another meltdown. Her leadership on the Board and willingness to work with industry stakeholders, other prudential regulators, and consumer advocates to establish effective and workable regulations has improved market stability while ensuring that credit remains available to consumers and small businesses in this challenging economic climate."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.