The Senate Banking Committee on Friday approved Janet L. Yellen's nomination for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, clearing the way for her to join the central bank before the Aug. 16 Federal Open Market Committee meeting.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the nomination early this week.
The committee voted 18 to 1 to confirm the University of California at Berkeley professor to a 14-year term at the Fed. Sea, Lauch Faircloth, R-N.C., was the lone dissenter.
A spokesman for Sen. Faircloth said the senator, a self-tiescribed inflation hawk, feared that Ms. Yellen would not be tough enough fighting inflation.
The spokesman said the senator wanted to signal his concern, especially because Ms. Yellen will replace Wayne D. Angell, a well-known inflation hawk.
Ms. Yellen's supporters said views such as Sen. Faircloth's are off target. Jeff Frankel, a Berkeley economics professor, said his former colleague is part of a new breed of liberal economists who became inflation hawks after growing up with the huge inflation of the '70s.
"It is interesting because by any other dimension, in terms of her politics, I would classify her as a liberal," Mr. Frankel said. "These liberal sentiments usually go with being soft on inflation."
Ms. Yellen reinforced this hawkish view at her confirmation hearing last month when she said the 1970s' inflation was destructive for the country. "I would not like to live through that again," she said at the time.
Economists who monitor the central bank said they expect to see the anti-inflation side of Ms. Yellen at the Aug. 16 FOMC meeting.
A Believer at 1st Fidelity
Joel L. Naroff, the chief economist for First Fidelity Bank of New Jersey, said-Ms. Yellen's public comments leave him believing she is worried about wage growth sparking inflation.
"I don't think she would want wage inflation seeping into the economy," Mr. Naroff said.
He said he expects Ms. Yellen to support a half percent rise to 4.75% for short-term rates.
Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Norwest Corp. of Minneapolis, said Ms. Yellen will likely support whatever the board wants to do with rates.
"I wouldn't be surprised if she'd go along, primarily because she is new," Mr. Sohn said. "She won't have been there long enough to know why Chairman [Alan] Greenspan wants to raise rates."
Mr. Sohn also said that tradition dictates that new Fed members "stay low and listen" for their first six months.
"Ifs an important club that she belongs to, and she'll want to make sure she fits in well," he said.
On that point, Ms. Yellen should have no problem, Mr. Frankel said. "She could play a useful role as a controlled person who can help build consensus," he said.