Senate confirms Trump's first Fed nominee

Senate confirms Trump's first Fed nominee
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The Senate on Thursday confirmed Randal Quarles to serve on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, where he’ll oversee the central bank’s financial regulation efforts.

Quarles, a top Treasury Department official under former President George W. Bush, will serve as the Fed’s first vice chairman for supervision, a position created by the Dodd-Frank Act to bolster federal oversight of major banks.

Quarles is the first member of the Fed nominated by President Trump, who’ll have several chances to reshape the central bank. Trump is currently mulling whether to replace Fed Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen when her term expires in February, and Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer is scheduled to leave the bank by the middle of October.

The Senate cleared Quarles 65-32, with 14 Democrats voting in favor his confirmation. No Republicans opposed Quarles, while Sens. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTodd Young in talks about chairing Senate GOP campaign arm US farming cannot afford to continue to fall behind Mississippi Democrat drops Senate bid MORE (R-Miss.), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerNevada Dem Senate candidate fires back at Trump: 'I’m not afraid to stand up to him' Trump calls Nevada Dem Senate candidate 'Wacky Jacky,' renews 'Pocahontas' jab at Warren Treasury gave special designation to Nevada county after GOP lobbying: report MORE (R-Nev.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) were not present for the vote. Cochran is currently recovering from a medical issue, while Heller and Cortez Masto are in Nevada responding to the Las Vegas concert shooting that killed more than 50 people.

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Quarles served various in senior positions at the Treasury Department between 2002 and 2006, including undersecretary for domestic finance from 2005 to 2006. His oversight of the United States finance system during the lead-up to the 2007 crisis drew criticisms from Democrats who argued he should have seen the full dangers of the risky trading before it was too late.

Quarles joined a private equity investment firm, which received bailout money after it purchased a failed bank, after leaving the Treasury Department.

Industry groups argued that Quarles’s extensive experience in the public and private sectors would help him ensure banking safety while promoting economic growth.

“The Fed Vice Chair for Supervision can play an outsized role in delivering needed economic growth while protecting consumers and taxpayers,” said Financial Services Roundtable CEO Tim Pawlenty. “[Financial Services Roundtable] looks forward to working with Randal Quarles to better tailor the financial regulatory system in a way that meets the needs of America’s modern economy.”

Quarles will play a major role in the Fed’s efforts to refine parts of Dodd-Frank. Fed leaders, including those appointed by former President Obama, have floated clarifying a controversial rule on banks investing with their own capital, and loosening certain federal stress test and stability requirements.

Rob Nichols, president of the American Bankers Association, congratulated Quarles and encouraged him “to now take the next steps in tailoring regulation to meet the supervisory needs of our banking system and drive economic growth.”

“We look forward to working with Vice Chair Quarles in crafting a regulatory program that fosters economic growth, and allows banks of all sizes to better serve their customers and communities without compromising safety and soundness,” Nichols said.