Goodfriend's nomination to Fed approved by Senate committee

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Updated 3:22 pm, Thursday, February 8, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s nomination of Marvin Goodfriend for a seat on the Federal Reserve board has been narrowly approved by a Senate committee on a straight party-line vote.

The Senate Banking Committee voted 13-12 on Thursday to approve Goodfriend’s nomination to the seven-member Fed board. Only Republicans supported the nomination. All Democrats opposed it. The closeness of the vote indicates that Goodfriend, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University, could face significant opposition when his nomination goes before the full Senate where Republicans have a one-vote majority.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the top Democrat on the committee, said Goodfriend’s past support for imposing restrictions on the Fed’s independence and for eliminating the central bank’s mandate to seek maximum employment were troubling.

“The stakes are too high for workers and for the economy,” Brown said. “We can’t take a chance on someone with a decades-long record of prioritizing hypothetical inflation over real people losing their jobs.”

Goodfriend had faced tough questioning from Democrats during his confirmation hearing last month. Republicans generally spoke favorably of his conservative views.

During his hearing, Goodfriend had said he regretted calling the Fed’s goal of seeking low unemployment “incoherent” and said he supported the dual mandate Congress has given the Fed to pursue low inflation and maximum employment.

Goodfriend would fill one of four vacancies on the seven-member Fed board. Trump decided against nominating Janet Yellen for a second four-year term as Fed leader and instead tapped Fed board member Jerome Powell, who was sworn in as Fed chairman on Monday. Trump has not put forward names for the three other vacancies on the Fed.

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