Janet Yellen (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama on Wednesday will nominate Janet Yellen to lead the nation's central bank as the next chair of the Federal Reserve System, a White House official said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen -- currently the Fed vice chair -- would be the first woman to hold the post that carries immense influence on the American and global economies.
Yellen would replace Ben Bernanke, who is retiring after two terms in the post.
The Federal Reserve nomination comes in the midst of a U.S. government shutdown that began Oct. 1.
It is also less than 10 days before the Treasury Department expects to hit the nation's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, a development could lead to a government default on its bills.
The Yellen nomination ends an unusual, lengthy, and contentious internal battle for the Fed chair position.
Supporters of Larry Summers, a former top economic adviser to Obama and President Bill Clinton, pushed him hard for the post. But Summers withdrew his name from consideration last month in the face of opposition that included some Democratic senators who said he was too close to Wall Street.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., welcomed the news about Yellen, saying "she's an excellent choice and I believe she'll be confirmed by a wide margin."
A White House aide confirmed the nomination, speaking on condition of anonymity until Obama makes his pick public.
Both Bernanke and Yellen are expected to attend a 3 p.m. ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday.
Yellen, vice chair of the Federal Reserve since 2010, has spent much of her career as an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, starting there in 1980.
She has worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, from 2004 to 2010, and as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Clinton from 1997 to 1999.
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who will hold Yellen confirmation hearings as chair of the Senate Banking Committee, commended Obama for selection Yellen, saying "she has a depth of experience that is second to none, and I have no doubt she will be an excellent Federal Reserve Chairman."