White House officials are plotting their next move to fill the Federal Reserve’s board of governors after President Trump’s previous two picks failed to get needed GOP support, but they have not reached a final decision on whom to nominate.
Some White House advisers discussed former budget official Paul Winfree as a possible candidate to serve as a Fed governor, two people familiar with the matter said Friday, as they look to move past the firestorm of opposition that confronted two recent picks.
But another person familiar with the discussion said the former staffer was not being seriously considered. All three people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.
Winfree is director of the economic policy studies division at the Heritage Foundation and served as a top economic and budget aide to Trump during his first year in office. While at the White House, Winfree was deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council and director of budget policy.
There are two open seats on the Fed’s seven-member Board of Governors. Trump said he wanted to nominate two political loyalists — business executive Herman Cain and conservative commentator Stephen Moore — to fill the slots, but both were met with a wave of opposition from GOP lawmakers before the paperwork was even complete.
Cain announced last month that he wanted to withdraw from consideration after it became clear he did not have enough support to be confirmed. Moore withdrew from consideration Thursday after facing the same daunting odds.
Winfree has long-standing ties to conservative economic circles and White House officials, but he does not have the long trail of controversial and provocative comments that felled Cain and Moore.
According to his biography on the Heritage Foundation’s website, Winfree was named one of the four “Rising Stars of 2017” in the Trump administration by Congressional Quarterly.