By Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday said he would nominate former Treasury official Michael Barr to be the Federal Reserve’s top regulatory official, replacing Sarah Bloom Raskin who withdrew in March after failing to win the backing of moderate Democrats.
Barr, now a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, was a central figure at the Treasury under President Barack Obama when Congress passed the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
“Michael brings the expertise and experience necessary for this important position at a critical time for our economy and families across the country,” Biden said in a statement.
The Fed vice chair for supervision is responsible for overseeing the biggest banks, determining proper capital ratios, and represents the United States in cross-border negotiations over international banking standards.
As Treasury assistant secretary for financial institutions, Barr helped shape the Wall Street overhaul enacted after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, Biden said, adding that Barr had strong support across the political spectrum.
The president said he would work closely with the Senate Banking Committee to move Barr’s nomination forward quickly, and called on the Senate to swiftly confirm his four other nominees for key Fed posts, including Jerome Powell for a second term as Fed chair.
Biden noted that Barr had been confirmed on a bipartisan basis for the Treasury post in 2009.
Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown said he would support Barr’s nomination and strongly urged his Republican colleagues to avoid personal attacks and back him as well.
“At a time when working families are dealing with rising prices while corporate profits continue to soar, this job is vital to ensuring the economy works for everyone,” Brown said.
Barr’s name had been floated for another bank regulatory post, heading up the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, but some progressives objected, citing his work with some fintech firms after leaving government.
Biden said Barr had spent his career protecting consumers, and played a critical role in creating both the CFPB and the Fed post for which he was now being nominated. He also served at the National Economic Council in the White House.
Former CFPB Director Richard Corday has described Barr as “a progressive champion,” while Senator Elizabeth Warren has called him “a hero” for his work on Dodd-Frank.
“He was instrumental in the passage of Dodd-Frank, to ensure a future financial crisis would not create devastating economic hardship for working families,” Biden said.
Raskin withdrew from consideration for the top regulatory post at the Fed on March 15, a day after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and moderate Republicans said they would not back her, leaving no path to confirmation by the full Senate.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Leslie Adler)