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Fed Nominee Michael Barr Picks Up Senate Republican Votes

Politics Jun 08, 2022 05:40
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2/2 © Bloomberg. Michael Barr, member of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve nominee for US President Joe Biden, speaks during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., US, on Thursday, May 19, 2022. Barr, a Treasury Department veteran, was nominated after Biden's first choice withdrew from consideration after it became clear she didn't have the votes for confirmation. 2/2

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden’s nomination of Michael Barr as vice chair for supervision at the Federal Reserve has won bipartisan backing, assuring that he will be quickly confirmed by the full Senate.

Three GOP members of the Senate Banking Committee -- Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming -- said Tuesday they would back Barr when the panel meets Wednesday to vote on the nomination.

“Professor Barr is well-qualified to serve as the Fed’s Vice Chair for Supervision based on his prior government service and distinguished career focused on financial services and regulation,” Toomey, the senior Republican on the Banking Committee, said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting his nomination.”

Barr, a veteran of the Treasury Department who was one of the architects of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, has avoided the partisan battle that was triggered by Biden’s previous nominee for the job, Sarah Bloom Raskin, who had urged the Fed and other regulators to act on climate financial risks. Raskin withdrew in the face of united opposition from Republicans as well as from conservative West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

At his confirmation hearing last month, Barr said the Fed “should not be in the business of telling financial institutions to lend to a particular sector or not to lend to a particular sector” and said inflation is “much too high” and committed to bringing it down.

Toomey said Barr had made important commitments on climate issues, transparency and Fed governance, though they have some disagreements.

“He has pledged to fight the record high inflation that’s hurting American families. He has also publicly acknowledged that the Fed does not have the authority to, nor should it, allocate credit or use its regulatory powers to accelerate the transition to a lower carbon economy,” Toomey said. 

Toomey has also been particularly concerned about what he considers to be the politicization of the Fed, in particular actions at some of the regional Federal Reserve banks. Toomey said Barr committed to working toward having the Fed board and the regional banks avoid political activities or lobbying, and that he responded thoroughly and promptly to information requests from lawmakers.

(Updated with more on Toomey’s support for Barr starting in the sixth paragraph.)

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Fed Nominee Michael Barr Picks Up Senate Republican Votes
 

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