The Biden administration said Friday it intends to nominate Michael S. Barr, a law professor and former Obama administration official, as deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve.
The position – one of the best places for financial regulation in America – proved to be particularly difficult to take.
The administration’s original nominee, Sarah Bloom Ruskin, failed to win Senate approval after Republicans opposed her writing on climate finance oversight and took advantage of her limited responses to her work in the private sector. Senator Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat, joined Republicans in their decision not to support her, ending her chances.
Mr Barr, dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, may also face challenges in securing broad support. He was a leading contender to be nominated for currency controller, but encountered opposition from the Progressive Democrats.
Some of the complaints focus on his work in government: As an employee of the Treasury Department during the Obama administration, Mr. Barr played an important role in drafting the Dodd-Frank Act, which renewed financial regulation after the 2008 financial crisis. However, some have said he opposes some particularly stringent measures for large banks.
Other opponents, when his name was announced for the post, focused on his work in the private sector with financial technology and the cryptocurrency industry.
But President Biden described Mr Barr as a qualified candidate who would bring years of experience.
“At least there is strong support from across the political spectrum,” the president said in a statement announcing the decision. He noted that Mr Bar had been confirmed in his post at the Ministry of Finance “on a bipartisan basis”.
Sen. Sherod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, said in a statement: “I will support this key candidate and strongly urge my Republican colleagues to abandon their old book on personal attacks and demagoguery.”
Ian Katz, managing director of research and consulting firm Capital Alpha, gave Mr Barr a 60 percent chance of confirmation. “Many believe that Bar is more moderate than Sarah Bloom Ruskin,” Mr Katz wrote in a note before the announcement, but after speculation that Mr Barr could be elected.
Mr Barr complemented Mr Biden’s list of candidates for the five open positions at the central bank.
The other nominees – Jerome H. Powell for another term as chairman of the Fed, Lael Brainard as vice president and Lisa D. Cook and Philip N. Jefferson for seats on the Board of Governors – are awaiting confirmation. These nominations passed the Senate Banking Committee, the first step towards confirmation, and a Senate-wide vote is expected in the coming weeks.
Mr Biden said he would work with the committee to get Mr Bar to his first vote quickly, and called for a quick confirmation of the others.