Senate Committee Confirms Stanley Fischer, 2 Other Fed Nominees

WASHINGTON (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday confirmed the nomination of Stanley Fischer, the former president of the Bank of Israel, for the Federal Reserve’s No. 2 job, and also approved two other nominees to fill seats on the central bank’s short-handed board.

Senators approved the nominees by a voice vote, sending the nominations to the full Senate for expected approval in the coming weeks.

Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said the three were “extremely well qualified” and that he wanted to act quickly to get them on the Fed’s board.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., was the only committee member who asked to be recorded as voting against the nominees. Before the vote, he complained that the Fed has become dominated by academic economists at the expense of people with experience in community banking.

Fischer’s nomination was approved along with those of Jerome H. Powell, a current Fed governor whose term expired Jan. 31, and Lael Brainard, a former Treasury Department official.

None have worked for community banks. Fischer and Brainard worked in academia.

The seven-member Fed board has three vacancies, with a fourth coming in May.

Jeremy C. Stein announced this month that he would step down from the Fed’s board on May 28, to return to teaching at Harvard University.

Fischer was governor of Israel’s central bank from 2005 to 2013, and brings extensive experience to the Fed’s vice – chair position. He would replace Janet L. Yellen, who rose from that job to chair the Fed after Ben S. Bernanke stepped down in January.

Fischer worked at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He also did a stint on Wall Street, serving as vice chairman of Citigroup Inc. from 2002 to 2005.

Fischer was Bernanke’s doctorate advisor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also taught former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers and Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank’s president.

Brainard, a former associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for international affairs from 2010 until late last year.

Powell served as an assistant secretary and undersecretary at the Treasury Department, under President George H.W. Bush.