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Yellen said U.S. economic data had been softening, but also said low inflation left the central bank free to pursue policies to continue to spur employment growth.
When pressed by Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) when the Fed would finalize rules implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Yellen said the regulator's work would be completed in the not-too-distant future.
Vitter in an interview with Joe Deaux discussed his concern that Federal Reserve officials didn't have enough experience in working with community banks. Vitter also said that the U.S. economy was on a "sugar high" from the central bank's policy, which has included keeping the short-term federal funds rate in historically low range of zero to 0.25% since late 2008.
When asked about what worries him about Janet Yellen's leadership of the Fed, Vitter said, "She's largely a continuation of Ben Bernanke in terms of large areas of policy... I don't think this free policy is sustainable."
The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) was up 0.4% to 68.73, with all but seven of the 24 component stocks ending with gains.