The Senate confirmation vote of 56-26 was the thinnest margin of approval in the bank's history, the New York Times reported. The current Fed chief, Ben Bernanke, was approved by a 70-30 vote in 2010.
A number of senators were prevented from attending the vote due to the severe winter weather, the newspaper said.
Yellen, 67, also will be the first Fed chair nominated by a Democratic President since Jimmy Carter named Paul Volcker as chairman in 1979, the Times said. Yellin, currently the Fed vice chair, was nominated by President Obama on Oct. 9.
Yellen was a gender pioneer also at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, where she taught macroeconomics and international business for 24 of her 26 years on the Cal campus.
"She became the second woman at the business school to earn tenure in 1982, as well as the title of full professor in 1985, forging the path for other female business professors at Berkeley-Haas," said a campus announcement about her Fed confirmation.
Her appointment is for a four-year term, and Fed analysts say she is expected to keep generally to the same course steered by Bernanke of carefully moderated Fed purchases of Treasury and mortgage debt to spur investment while also holding down inflation and unemployment.
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