Window Closing for Obama to Fill Federal Reserve Board

By Lawler, Joseph | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, September 11, 2014 | Go to article overview

Window Closing for Obama to Fill Federal Reserve Board


Lawler, Joseph, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


President Obama is close to missing a significant opportunity to influence monetary and regulatory policy for years to come.

With Congress running out the few legislative days it has before the November elections, Obama has not nominated candidates for the two open positions on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. If Republicans take control of the Senate, Obama's ability to appoint his preferred candidates would be limited.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about its plans for nominating officials to the seven-member board, and lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee who would handle any nominations declined to say whether the administration had notified them of plans to submit candidates.

In the past however, the Obama administration has been slow to name candidates to the board, which is responsible for oversight of U.S. banks and conducting the nation's monetary policy.

Earlier this year, Obama nominated three candidates to the board after Chairman Ben Bernanke left the agency, which was in danger of becoming critically undermanned after he was replaced by fellow board member Janet Yellen as chairwoman. Obama did not, however, name replacements for two spots opened up by departing governors.

It is possible that nominees could be forced through during the lame-duck period after November's midterm elections. But it takes on average 137 days for financial regulator candidates to clear the Senate once nominated, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. Although candidates are often rushed through at the end of a Congress, the necessities of vetting the candidates, arranging interviews with senators and scheduling hearings -- let alone navigating a vote on the Senate floor -- would make it difficult.

"It is an important opportunity, or missed opportunity if they're not filled," said the center's Aaron Klein of the nominations. Klein, who was previously a chief economist on the Senate Banking Committee and managed Fed nominations, called the nominations a chance for a president "to extend part of your legacy."

Federal Reserve governors have the third-longest tenured offices - - 14 years -- in the federal government, Klein noted, behind judges given lifetime appointments and the comptroller general, who has a 15-year term directing the Government Accountability Office. …

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Window Closing for Obama to Fill Federal Reserve Board
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