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Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated respected economist Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve, replacing outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke, who carried the central bank through the financial crisis.

Yellen, 67, will be the first woman ever to lead the Fed, and is widely expected to sustain Bernanke’s focus on supporting the U.S. economy until joblessness can be brought down.

“America’s workers and families will have a champion in Janet,” Obama said in a White House ceremony, flanked by Yellen and Bernanke.

He called Yellen “exceptionally qualified” for what he said was one of the most important jobs in the world.

“She is a proven leader, and she’s tough. Not just because she is from Brooklyn,” Obama said.

He cited her record of having “sounded the alarm early” about the housing and financial bubble that led to the 2008-2009 recession.

“She calls it like she sees it,” Obama said.

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US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants her Democrats to push through trillions of dollars worth of investments in infrastructure and social service programs before a self-imposed deadline of September 30, 2021

Washington (AFP) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence a massive infrastructure bill will pass this week but acknowledged it would not get a Monday vote as planned, with fellow Democrats warning critical work remains to meet the party's deadlines.

Democrats have been scrambling to hammer out a landmark plan to upgrade the nation's roads and bridges, but are also under immense pressure to finalize a $3.5 trillion public investment package and fund the government to avert a looming shutdown -- all by September 30.

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