Senate Brings Federal Reserve Board to Full Size for First Time in 6 Years

Monday, May 21, 2012
Jerome Powell (photo: C-Span)
For the first time since 2006—before the financial crisis struck—the seven-member Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors will be at full strength now that the Senate approved two of President Barack Obama’s appointments.
Joining the Fed’s board are Harvard economist Jeremy C. Stein, a Democrat, and investment banker and lawyer Jerome H. Powell, a Republican. The two were nominated in December.  Both men were confirmed by comfortable margins (Stein 70-24, Powell 74-21), despite opposition from some Republican senators, such as David Vitter of Louisiana and James DeMint of South Carolina.
Vitter, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, argued against the two nominees, claiming they would be little more than “rubber stamps” for the policies of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
But Vitter’s concerns were not enough to derail the nominations, especially after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) used the recent $2 billion trading loss at JPMorgan Chase to convince senators that the Fed could use more expertise in financial markets on its board.
Powell previously served in the George H. W. Bush administration as a senior official in the Department of the Treasury. He was also a partner (1997-2005) in The Carlyle Group, a major private equity firm.
Stein served briefly in the Treasury Department from February to July 2009 as a senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and on the staff of the National Economic Council.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Senate Confirms 2 for Fed Board (by John Cushman Jr., New York Times)

Fed Board Nominees Powell, Stein Win Senate Confirmation (by Joshua Zumbrun, Bloomberg) 


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