President Biden announces the appointment of a former Ripple advisor as Fed vice chairman for supervision


Since Governor Randal Quarles’ tenure expired in October 2021, the Federal Reserve’s vice chair for supervision position has been vacant.

Following former Federal Reserve Board Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin’s resignation, US Vice President Joe Biden revealed his plan to propose Michael Barr, a former Obama administration official, and law professor, as the central bank’s vice chair for supervision.

The White House announced on Friday that Barr was Biden’s choice to manage the Federal Reserve and define its regulatory agenda. Barr was on the Ripple Labs advisory board from 2015 to 2017, was the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for financial institutions under former President Barack Obama, and taught financial regulatory classes at the University of Michigan. According to the White House, he was a “key architect” of the Dodd-Frank Act, which continues to shape US financial policy.

“Barr has broad bipartisan support — and was confirmed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis,” President Biden stated. “He recognizes that this is not a political position, but one that is necessary in regulating our nation’s financial institutions in order to guarantee Americans are treated fairly and to preserve our economy’s stability.”

The US president said that he wants to “bring Barr’s nomination along fast,” which is plausible since the vice-chair for supervision job has been empty since former Fed governor Randal Quarles’ tenure expired in October 2021. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said that he would support the nominee, citing the need for a “complete Federal Reserve board.”

“The vice-chairman of supervision is crucial in defending our financial system and must prioritize robust financial regulation, as well as to detect and mitigate economic risks,” Brown added. “I will support this critical nomination, and I strongly encourage my Republican colleagues to forsake their tried-and-true strategy of personal assaults and demagoguery in favor of Americans and their wallets.”

It is unknown if politics will be a factor in advancing Barr’s perspective nomination past committee and to a full Senate vote. Raskin, Biden’s first choice for vice-chair for oversight, withdrew her name from consideration in March, alleging “constant assaults by special interests” and alluding to Republican senators who had “taken hostage” her candidacy since February. At the time, Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee skipped a meeting intended to advance Biden’s nominees for Senate confirmation.

The Senate has not yet confirmed Biden’s nominees for Fed chairman, vice chairman, and two governors: Jerome Powell, Lael Brainard, Lisa Cook, and Philip Jefferson. Powell has served as chair pro tempore since February 4 in the absence of a full Senate vote, while Brainard remains a member of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors.

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