Nominee Fischer Clears Procedural Hurdle In Senate
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[May 21, 2014]
By Howard Schneider
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Stanley Fischer's
nomination to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve cleared a key
procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, virtually assuring that the
noted economist will join the central bank's board within days.
The Senate agreed 62-35 to limit debate on the nomination,
allowing for a final vote just after midday on Wednesday. Fischer is
widely expected to win Senate approval.
The arrival of Fischer, 70, will help bring the seven-member Fed
Board of Governors back toward full strength after a period when its
membership threatened to dip as low as three with the departure at
the end of this month of Jeremy Stein.
Fischer's appointment for an initial four-year term as vice chairman
puts him in a pivotal position as the central bank approaches
decisions about the end of its stimulus programs and when to begin
raising interest rates after five years of historically loose
The vote on a second nominee, former top U.S. Treasury official Lael
Brainard, has not been scheduled but is expected in time for her to
be in place for the Fed's next policy-setting session on June 17 and
18. Current Fed Governor Jerome Powell is also expected to be
confirmed by then for a new term.
Stein's departure will still leave two vacancies for President
Barack Obama to fill, allowing him a further opportunity to leave
his long-term mark on the agency responsible for setting the
nation's monetary policy. He has named all sitting members of the
Fischer is considered one of the top economic minds of his
generation, both for his academic work and for his policymaking. He
was the No. 2 at the International Monetary Fund during the Asian
economic crisis in the 1990s and was governor of the Bank of Israel
through the global financial crisis a decade later.
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Those experiences have made him a firm believer in activist central
banking and the need for policymakers to be aggressive in trying to
ensure financial stability.
"Since the Asian crisis and later when the critical importance of
the financial system became so central, he has increasingly focused
... on financial stability and the dangers of the buildup of
systemic risks," said Ratna Sahay, a top IMF official who served as
one of Fischer's advisers on Asia policy.
(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Paul Simao)
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