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Fed Nominees Will Get a Vote Thursday

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today set up a procedural vote for Thursday on two nominees to join the Federal Reserve whose nominations have stalled because of opposition from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.).

These two Fed nominations and Fed monetary policy are tremendously important matters, Vitter said in a statement. Because they are, and because I have serious concerns with the Feds activist, easy money policies, Ive been demanding this upcoming Senate debate and vote rather than just rubber-stamping all this with no debate.

Vitter blocked attempts in March to quickly confirm Harvard University economics professor Jeremy Stein, a Democratic nominee, and former private-equity executive Jerome Powell, a Republican nominee.

At the time, the Louisiana Republican criticized the board for its bond-buying programs and other efforts to stimulate the economy, saying in a written statement that he opposes the Feds activist policies.

Asked whether he was confident that he would have the 60 votes to invoke cloture on the nominations, Reid said, Well I sure hope so, weve been waiting months and months.

Its important we have a fully-functioning Fed, Reid continued. One of the things we want them to do is finish the rules that theyve been asked to do on the Dodd-Frank [financial industry reform] bill that we did. We expect those to be in July, I would suggest they start working a little overtime, get them done before then.

So yes, I hope we can get that done. It would be the right thing for the country, Reid said. Weve only had one announced person holding up these nominations: Sen. Vitter from Louisiana.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he believes there is bipartisan support for the nominees.

I havent looked carefully at it, but my impression is that there is bipartisan support, McConnell said today. One of the nominees is a Republican. And well see what happens tomorrow when or Thursday, when we likely vote on it.

A Democratic leadership aide called the two nominees outstanding candidates who are currently languishing due to Republican obstruction.

Without the two nominees in place, the Federal Reserve Board will remain short-handed as it attempts to support the economic recovery, the aide said.

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