WASHINGTON — A Senate panel on Thursday advanced Janet Yellen's nomination to lead the Federal Reserve, setting up a final vote in the full Senate after lawmakers return from a two-week Thanksgiving break.

Yellen's path to confirmation also became easier on Thursday when the full Senate voted to change its rules for approving all presidential nominees other than Supreme Court selections. Now a simple majority will be required, instead of 60 votes.

Yellen was nominated by President Obama in October to succeed Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term as chairman will end Jan. 31.

She would be the first woman to lead the Fed and the first Democrat to do so since Paul Volcker stepped down in 1987.