President Obama will nominate a Democrat and a Republican to fill two open spots on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, a move intended to smooth the confirmation process in a deeply divided Senate.
Obama selected Jeremy Stein, a Democrat and economics professor at Harvard University, and Republican Jerome Powell, a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, to fill the vacant positions on the seven-person board.
Powell works on federal and state fiscal issues at the Bipartisan Policy Center. He previously served as the undersecretary of the Treasury for finance during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. He has also worked as a lawyer and investment banker in New York.
Stein has studied financial regulation and monetary policy in the course of his research. Stein was on the staff of the National Economic Council and served as a senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Neither nomination comes as a surprise. The Wall Street Journal reported in August that the White House was considering Stein for the job. The newspaper also reported in November that Powell was under consideration.
In a statement, President Obama said the nominees' “impressive knowledge of economic and monetary policy make them tremendously qualified to serve in these important roles.”
An earlier nominee, Peter Diamond, a Nobel laureate and economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, withdrew his nomination in June. He cited Republican opposition as the reason for his withdrawal in a New York Times op-ed. Diamond had been nominated by Obama three times; he was first blocked by Senate Republicans in a floor vote and later by Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee.
Federal Reserve Board governors serve 14-year terms, and cannot be removed from their position for their policy views.