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c.2013 New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON — Janet L. Yellen took a giant step Thursday toward becoming the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve Board when the Senate Banking Committee sent her nomination to the full Senate with a 14-8 vote.

The committee’s vote showed how the Federal Reserve’s policies to keep money flowing to the ailing economy has made the Fed a part of the ongoing partisan wars in Washington. It broke largely along party lines, with three Republican senators — Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma — voting in favor of her nomination. One Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, voted against her.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a conservative Democrat from North Dakota who supported Yellen’s nomination, said there is a “legitimate debate about the easy money policy of the Fed,” and the “no” votes reflected protests against “quantitative easing,” the Fed’s policy of buying Treasury bonds to pump the economy with cash.

But, Heitkamp added, “Everyone in there expects her to be confirmed.”

Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, the ranking Republican on the committee, explained his “no” vote by saying “unconventional and untested policies continue unabated,” and “the long-term costs are unclear and worrisome.”

The Republican “no” votes indicated the full Senate will not give Yellen anything close to a unanimous vote of confidence, but supporters and opponents say she easily has the votes for confirmation, which will most likely come in December.