Biden to appoint Barr as Fed banking supervisor
President Joe Biden will appoint Michael Barr, a Treasury Department veteran and one of the architects of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, as chief banking supervisor of the US Federal Reserve.
“Michael brings the expertise and experience needed for this important position at a critical time for our economy and our families across the country,” Biden said in a statement released Friday by the White House. Barr’s appointment as vice chairman for Fed oversight must be approved by the Senate.
The president recently settled on Barr, according to people familiar with the matter. Sarah Bloom Raskin, her previous choice, withdrew from consideration on March 15 after it became clear she did not have the votes for confirmation in the equally divided Senate.
Biden aides discussed the choice with key Capitol Hill lawmakers and staffers, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, told administration that they were comfortable with Barr, the people said. .
“The Federal Reserve plays a critical role in fighting inflation, and Barr will make a strong vice president for oversight, joining my other Federal Reserve nominees the Senate is considering,” Biden said in his statement.
Brown praised Barr in a statement, saying “now more than ever, we need a full Fed board — including a vice chairman for oversight. The Vice President for Oversight 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 urged Republican senators “to ditch their old playbook of personal attacks and grandstanding and put Americans and their pocketbooks first” as they work to confirm Barr’s nomination.
Barr served in the US Treasury during the administration of President Barack Obama and worked for the National Economic Council under President Bill Clinton. He was also part of the Biden transition team that reviewed the Treasury Department.
Barr is currently Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He has been on the faculty of the university’s law school since 2001.
He did not respond to a request for comment earlier this week when he emerged as a leading contender for the job.
As senior aide to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Barr was one of the main authors of Dodd-Frank, legislation forged in response to the financial crisis that began in 2008 and notably created the vice president of supervision at the Fed. At the Treasury, he opened the Community Development Office, expanded the earned income tax credit, and helped design the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
Warren praised him in his 2014 book “A Fighting Chance,” crediting him with helping to create a strong consumer financial protection bureau.
Barr holds a bachelor’s degree and law degree from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. He served as law clerk to former United States Supreme Court Justice David Souter in 1993.
He had been a candidate to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency earlier in the Biden administration, but when news of his potential nominee surfaced last year, some progressives objected. These activists were suspicious of his ties to fintech companies. He was an external advisor to Ripple Labs Inc. until 2017.
Reporting by Nancy Cook for Bloomberg News.