Obama To Nominate 2 Candidates For Fed Vacancies

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Harvard professor Jeremy Stein is a Democrat who served as a senior adviser to Obama's Treasury Department. Republican Jerome Powell served at Treasury under the first President Bush.


President Obama has announced nominees to fill the two vacant positions on the seven-seat Federal Reserve Board of Governors. One is Harvard Professor Jeremy Stein, a Democrat who was previously a senior advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The other is a Republican, Jerome Powell, who served at Treasury under the first President Bush.

NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: So other than their nominations, what do these two men have in common?

ALAN BLINDER: A Princeton education and high IQs. Other than that, I'm not sure what they have in common.

NOGUCHI: Alan Blinder is former vice chair of the Fed's Board of Governors and himself a professor at Princeton. He says he is a fan of both.

BLINDER: Their backgrounds are quite different and beautifully complementary. That's, you know, sometimes you want different, rather than the same. Stein is an outstanding academic finance economist. Powell is a seasoned financial executive with government experience.

NOGUCHI: And, of course, they belong to different parties. Blinder says he believes that is also by design, to try to win approval from Congress.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond was nominated twice by the Obama administration, but Senate Republicans blocked a vote on his confirmation. Diamond eventually withdrew. Blinder says party affiliation should not matter. With the possibility of financial crisis looming in Europe and a stagnant economy at home, he says the Fed desperately needs additional brain power and man power.

Yuki Noguchi, NPR News, Washington.

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