WASHINGTON - The Senate has easily approved Janet Yellen's nomination to head the Federal Reserve.
Monday's 56-26 vote makes Yellen the first woman to lead the central bank in its century-long history. It puts an economist in the post who has long focused on fighting unemployment and who backed the Fed's recent efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and huge bond purchases.
Yellen begins her four-year term as chair on Feb. 1. She replaces Ben Bernanke, who has held the job for eight years dominated by the Great Recession and his efforts to fight it.
Yellen has been Fed vice chair since 2010.
Nominated in October by President Barack Obama, Yellen will be the first Fed chair picked by a Democrat since President Jimmy Carter chose Paul Volcker.