Marvin Goodfriend, professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Trump Weighs Whether to Renominate Goodfriend to Fed, Source Says

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration is considering whether to renominate Marvin Goodfriend to join the Federal Reserve Board, a person familiar with the matter said, as the president’s scrutiny of the central bank intensifies and support for the economist fades.

President Donald Trump nominated Goodfriend for a vacant Fed Board seat in November 2017, but his nomination languished in the Senate for much of last year. It lapsed at the end of 2018 with the previous Congress, and the White House would have to renominate him if they want to keep trying to get him on the Fed.

Trump Weighs Whether to Renominate Goodfriend to Fed, Source Says

Goodfriend was not part of a list of dozens of renominations sent to Capitol Hill late Wednesday, but he still could be put forward for the job once again, said the person, who discussed the pending decision on condition of anonymity.

Goodfriend’s confirmation looked like a shoo-in until his Jan. 23, 2018, hearing before the Senate Banking Committee when he appeared ill-prepared for an aggressive line of questioning by Democrats. The Senate panel narrowly and along party lines approved his nomination but it never progressed, with the Republican leadership unsure they could muster the necessary votes on the Senate floor.

Goodfriend’s credentials as an inflation hawk may have become a liability for him under Trump. The Fed has come under fire from the president, who advised the central bank in a tweet before its December policy meeting to “feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers.”

The Fed didn’t heed the advice, and instead raised interest rates the following day for the ninth time in three years to prevent the economy from overheating.

Goodfriend is a widely respected, if somewhat controversial, monetary policy scholar.

A former research director of the Richmond Fed, he faced opposition from some Democrats from the start because of his views emphasizing the importance of keeping inflation close to the Fed’s 2 percent target over its other mandated goal of maximizing employment.

Such a hawkish stance has become particularly difficult to defend given years of inflation that’s remained below the central bank’s goal despite a decline in unemployment to the lowest level since the late 1960s.

Goodfriend didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail requesting comment.

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