Biden to appoint Michael Barr as Fed vice chairman for oversight

The Biden administration said Friday it intended to appoint Michael S. Barr, a law professor and former Obama administration official, to serve as the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman for oversight.

The position – one of the top financial regulatory positions in the United States – proved particularly tricky to fill.

The administration’s first nominee, Sarah Bloom Raskin, failed to gain Senate confirmation after Republicans challenged her writings on climate-related financial oversight and seized on her limited responses about her work in the private sector. Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, joined Republicans in deciding not to support her, ending her chances.

Mr. Barr, the dean of the University of Michigan’s school of public policy, may also struggle to garner broad support. He was a leading contender for the Comptroller of the Currency nomination, but faced opposition from progressive Democrats.

Some of the complaints were about his work in government: As a Treasury Department official during the Obama administration, Mr. Barr played a major role in crafting the Dodd-Frank Act, which revamped regulations after the 2008 financial crisis. But some have said he opposes some particularly tough measures for big banks.

Other opponents when his name was floated for this position focused on his private sector work with the fintech and cryptocurrency industry.

But President Biden described Mr. Barr as a qualified candidate who would bring years of experience to the job.

“Barr has strong support from across the political spectrum,” the president said in a statement announcing the decision. He noted that Mr Barr had been confirmed to his post at the Treasury “on a bipartisan basis”.

Senator Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, said in a statement, “I will support this key candidate, and I urge my fellow Republicans to drop their old playbook of personal attacks and of demagoguery.”

Ian Katz, managing director of research and advisory firm Capital Alpha, put the odds of Mr Barr’s confirmation at 60%. “Barr is considered by many to be more moderate than Sarah Bloom Raskin,” Mr. Katz wrote in a note ahead of the announcement, but after speculation that Mr. Barr might be chosen.

Mr. Barr completes Mr. Biden’s list of candidates for the five central bank vacancies.

The other choices — Jerome H. Powell for another term as Fed chairman, Lael Brainard for vice chairman, and Lisa D. Cook and Philip N. Jefferson for seats on the Board of Governors — are awaiting confirmation. Those nominations passed the Senate Banking Committee, the first step toward confirmation, and a vote before the full Senate is expected in the coming weeks.

Mr. Biden said he would work with the committee to get Mr. Barr through his first vote quickly, and he called for quick confirmation from the others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.