White House Sees ‘No Urgency’ to Nominate Fed Board Candidates

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said the White House currently is interviewing candidates to fill open seats on the Federal Reserve Board but said there’s no hurry to make a nomination.

“There’s no urgency on that,” the head of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

“There’s two openings on the board and we’re interviewing folks now,” Kudlow said. “We have a good process and a whole bunch of candidates are being considered.”

Asked if the White House is considering women for either vacancy, Kudlow responded, “Yes, we are.”

Herman Cain, the former pizza company executive who ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, is being considered for one of the openings, Bloomberg reported last week. Cain, 73, was in the White House last Wednesday.

A Cain nomination would raise the prospect of a Senate confirmation hearing focused on the sexual harassment and infidelity accusations that ended his presidential campaign.

Trump has repeatedly attacked U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates, and Bloomberg News reported in December that the president had even discussed firing him. One way the president can influence monetary policy is through nominations to the Fed board, though anyone he picks must be confirmed by the Senate.

Powell and Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida had dinner at the White House Monday with Trump, a meeting Kudlow told reporters was “cordial.”

Trump nominated Carnegie Mellon University economist Marvin Goodfriend for one of the openings in 2017 but the Senate didn’t vote to confirm him or another nominee, former Fed economist Nellie Liang. Liang withdrew from consideration for renomination last month, and Goodfriend didn’t appear on a list of dozens of renominations the White House submitted to the Senate.

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