Release: Senators Advise Obama on Fed Vacancies

WASHINGTON, March 12 – A group of senators today urged President Obama to fill three Federal Reserve vacancies with nominees “who will fight to protect the interests of the American middle class and small businesses.”   

A letter to the president circulated by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was signed by Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Roland Burris (D-Ill.). 

The president’s three picks for the seven-member Board of Governors also will sit on the influential, twelve-member Open Market Committee.  The nominations provide an historic opportunity to reshape the Fed in a way that strengthens the middle class and small businesses.

The letter advises Obama to select nominees who support using the Fed’s power to cap credit card interest rates, increase lending to small businesses, rein in “too-big-to-fail” financial firms, increase transparency at the Fed, aggressively address the home foreclosure crisis, and restrict excessive compensation. 

“Decisions by the Federal Reserve can have a major impact on whether the unemployment rate goes up or down; whether small businesses thrive or go out of business; whether the foreclosure rate goes up or down; and whether big banks charge reasonable or usurious interest rates and fees for credit cards and other financial products,” the senators wrote. 

“The Federal Reserve has been given broad authority by Congress to protect consumers against unfair and deceptive financial products; to promote maximum employment; to maintain the safety and soundness of financial institutions; and to guard against systemic risk in financial markets.

“Therefore, we believe that the nominees you choose to fill these important positions should be prepared to support the American people.”

To read the entire letter, click here.