Three Fed nominees to get committee vote Tuesday

The Federal Reserve could come closer to filling several vacancies on its board with a Senate vote Tuesday.

The Senate Banking Committee announced Thursday that members would vote on three nominees to join the central bank, which is facing several vacancies on its policy-setting board. The nominees up for consideration are Stanley Fischer to be the next vice chair, and Lael Brainard and Jerome Powell to serve as Fed governors.

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Fischer previously served as the head of Israel’s central bank, Brainard most recently was a top Treasury Department official on international finance, and Powell is serving as a Fed governor but seeking his own full 14-year term after wrapping up an abbreviated term.

All three nominees appeared before the panel in March and did not face substantial opposition from any lawmaker on the committee. If approved by the panel, their nominations would head to the Senate for full confirmation.

A speedy confirmation for the three would come as welcome news for the Fed, which has three openings on its seven-member board. And a fourth spot is about to open when Jeremy Stein steps down to return to his teaching post at Harvard University in May.

So even if Powell remains on the board and the two new members are confirmed quickly, that leaves two more spots for the White House to fill at the central bank.

And the vacancies are emerging as the Fed is at a critical juncture. Under Chairwoman Janet Yellen, the Fed is embarking on an exit of years’ worth of stimulus by shrinking the size of the bond purchases in its “quantitative easing” program. The Fed is trying to eliminate that support gradually, without upending markets or the economy.

The Fed vote is schedule before the Banking Committee dives into a comprehensive housing finance reform bill backed by Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and ranking member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).