President Joe Biden on Friday announced his intent to nominate Michael Barr, a key architect of the Dodd-Frank Act and former Treasury Department assistant secretary, to serve as the Federal Reserve’s vice chair for supervision.
The post, which is considered the top banking regulator in the country, remains vacant after Biden’s failed attempt to appoint former Treasury official Sarah Bloom Raskin to the role. Raskin withdrew her nomination last month after facing fierce opposition from Senate Republicans and Democratic objector Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Barr is the current dean at the University of Michigan’s public policy school. He previously served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, including as the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for financial institutions from 2009-10.
Barr would replace Randal Quarles as vice chair for supervision if confirmed. Quarles resigned as a Fed board member at the end of 2021.
Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who played a big part in painting Raskin as a shill for clean energy, quickly began his assault on Biden’s latest nominee via Twitter on Friday morning.
“Michael Barr has defended Dodd-Frank’s big-bank bailout mechanism, which enshrined into law taxpayer bailouts of banks. He was also the primary author of the unconstitutional and unaccountable CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau),” Toomey wrote on Twitter.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), chair of the Senate Banking Committee, shot back at Republican opposition in a statement, calling for his colleagues to “abandon their old playbook of personal attacks and demagoguery and put Americans and their pocketbooks first.”
“The vice chair of supervision plays a critical role in protecting our financial system and must prioritize strong financial regulation and identify and stay ahead of risks to our economy,” Brown wrote. “At a time when working families are dealing with rising prices while corporate profits soar, this job is vital to ensuring the economy works for everyone.”
In announcing the nomination, Biden made it a point to say Barr understands the post is “not a partisan one.” He urged the Senate Banking Committee to promptly advance Barr and the full Senate to confirm other Fed nominees Jerome Powell, Lael Brainard, Philip Jefferson, and Lisa Cook.
The Fed Board of Governors typically has seven members. Powell, a Republican and appointee of former President Donald Trump, has been nominated to continue serving as chair by Biden, while Brainard has been nominated to be vice chair.