President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Michael Barr to serve as the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman of supervision.
The April 15 announcement comes about a month after Biden’s first choice for the job, Sarah Bloom Raskin, withdrew her nomination. Raskin had faced opposition from Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who criticized her past statements advocating for the use of financial regulations to defund the fossil fuel industry as a means of addressing climate change.
The current dean of the University of Michigan’s public policy school, Barr has also served in the Treasury Department during the Obama and Clinton administrations. He played a role in the Dodd-Frank Act that passed in 2010 and overhauled all federal financial regulatory agencies in the wake of the country’s economic recession.
Barr is also a Rhodes Scholar and served as a law clerk for Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.
Biden said Barr has “spent his career protecting consumers,” and pointed to a history of bipartisan support for Barr.
“Barr has strong support from across the political spectrum—and has been confirmed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis,” the president said in a statement. “He understands that this job is not a partisan one, but one that plays a critical role in regulating our nation’s financial institutions to ensure Americans are treated fairly and to protect the stability of our economy.”
Barr was blocked last year from serving as the Biden administration’s comptroller of the currency, a position that bears responsibility for regulating national banks. Liberal critics called into question Barr’s role on the advisory boards of the financial firms Lending Club and Ripple Labs. They also asserted that he had helped dilute proposals for stricter bank regulations during the Obama administration.
Barr found support from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who released a statement on April 15 saying that Barr “understands the importance of this role at this critical time in our economic recovery” and calling on Republicans to support the nomination.
If confirmed, Barr would assume the Fed role amid an accelerating rate of inflation that reached an 8.5 percent annual rate in March—the highest in more than 40 years.
The Fed is expected by economists to raise interest rates in the coming months to try to rein in inflation. Meanwhile, some financial institutions, including Bank of America and Deutsche Bank, are predicting that will lead to a recession in 2023.
Many blame the high inflation rate on excessive money printing to cover government spending, which was increased drastically to pay for legislative measures meant to address the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Biden has sought to blame Russia and its aggressive actions in Ukraine as the cause for inflation.
“Seventy percent of the increase in prices in March came from Putin’s price hike in gasoline,” Biden said on April 12.
The Associated Press and Emel Akan contributed to this report.