Obama nominates Stein and Powell to the Fed

The Obama administration is nominating Jeremy Stein and Jay Powell to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. Stein is a Harvard economist who served in the Obama administration in 2009. Powell, a former private-equity executive with the Carlyle Group, is a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center and was Undersecretary of the Treasury for Finance under George H.W. Bush. So this is a Noah’s Ark nomination: One Democrat and one Republican.

On the surface, both nominees should be broadly acceptable to both sides. Tyler Cowen called Stein “one of the most creative contemporary economists.” Powell is a moderate Republican who has spoken admiringly of Dodd-Frank and who played a crucial role in convincing the mainstream of the GOP that defaulting on the debt was unthinkable.

But there are a few big differences between the two nominees: For one thing, Stein’s views on monetary policy are quite public (see here, for example). Powell’s aren’t. So his confirmation hearings will be closely watched by both sides. Also, Stein is being nominated to seat that expires in 2018. Powell is being nominated to a seat that expires in 2014.

For more, see David Wessel’s report. He notes, among other things, that “campaign-finance records show Mr. Stein contributed to Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign. Mr. Powell contributed to John McCain’s presidential campaign in that year. This year, he has contributed to the campaigns of Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.”

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