WASHINGTON — The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday approved President Donald Trump's nomination of Columbia University professor Richard Clarida to be the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. The panel also approved the nomination of Kansas bank commissioner Michelle Bowman to fill another vacancy on the Fed's seven-member board.
If the nominations win approval as expected from the full Senate, they will fill two of the current four vacancies on the Fed board. Trump has the opportunity to remake the Fed board in his first two years in office by filling six of seven positions.
Clarida, an expert on monetary policy, would succeed Stanley Fischer in the Fed's No. 2 job. Bowman, the first woman to be the top banking regulator in Kansas, would take the board seat reserved for a community banker.
The committee approved Clarida's nomination on a 20-5 vote while Bowman was approved by a vote of 18-7. All the no votes were cast by Democrats.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and the top Democrat on the panel, voted against both nominations. He said he was unhappy with the responses both had made to written questions about their views on the need to enforce tougher bank regulations put in place after the 2008 financial crisis.
"This administration is clearly targeting the (regulatory) framework put in place after the 2008 crisis," Brown said.
But Rob Nichols, president of the American Bankers Association, praised the committee's approval of both nominees in a statement and urged quick Senate consideration so that the central bank "can benefit from a full range of voices and perspectives."
Last year, Trump tapped Fed board member Jerome Powell, at one time the only Republican on the board, to succeed Janet Yellen as Fed chairman. He also selected Utah banker Randal Quarles for the position of vice chairman for bank supervision.
Trump has also nominated Marvin Goodfriend, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University, for an empty board set, but that nomination is facing strong opposition from Democrats concerned about Goodfriend's past support for efforts to limit the Fed's independence.