This vote was on the confirmation of Jeremy C. Stein’s appointment to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
President Obama nominated Stein to fill a position on the Board of Governors that would expire in 2018. Stein, an economist who earned a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a professor, former adviser to the Secretary of Treasury, and member of the National Economic Council. The Board of Governors helps oversee the Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. banking system.
Supporters of Stein’s nomination praised his academic work and his expertise on the topic of capital markets. They said the Senate’s work to move forward with confirmation of Stein and another Federal Reserve appointee, Jerome Powell, was important for the nation’s economic recovery.
“At a time when our economy is struggling to maintain forward momentum, and the Federal Reserve is faced with difficult decisions about how to help the recovery now without creating problems in the future, it is absolutely critical that we not leave the Fed undermanned,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said. “For months now, the Fed has been operating with only 5 of its 7 board members, while nominees languish in the Senate confirmation process. There is no real question that both of our nominees are qualified and bipartisan.”
Opponents of Stein’s confirmation argued that he would support “dangerous” Federal Reserve policies that helped push interest rates low. The policies are designed to spur economic growth, but opponents argued that they would lead to inflation that would ultimately hurt the economy.
“If these two new nominees to the Board are confirmed, … it would shift the outcome to the left, if you will. It would make it much more likely that the Fed would act sooner to bail out megabanks with taxpayer funds,” Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) said. “These two nominees are fine, decent men. They are smart. They are qualified in the professional sense. However, they clearly also support the current direction of Chairman Bernanke and the Fed.”
The Senate confirmed Jeremy Stein by a vote of 70-24. Voting “yea” were 49 Democrats and 21 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 24 Republicans. As a result, Jeremy C. Stein was confirmed for a term on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.