GOP Lawmakers Want Full Debate on Fed Nominee

Politics Reuters

Federal Reserve nominee Peter Diamond's nomination was in peril on Monday as several Republican lawmakers said they continue to object to it and are demanding a full debate over it in the Senate.

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The lawmakers are unwilling to limit Senate debate over the nominee, senior Senate aides said.

As a result, President Barack Obama would have to gain approval from 60 Senators in the 100-member legislative body to force a vote on Diamond's nomination. Besides the high vote threshold, such a process would be a time-consuming exercise in a Senate that has few days left and a long legislative agenda.

Republican lawmakers who have objected to giving Diamond a seat at the Fed say he lacks the necessary experience and that he may not be legally qualified because another Fed governor is from the same region of the country as he is. Fed board members are supposed to represent different areas of the country although that practice has not been followed to the letter in the past.

A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was awarded the Nobel prize in economics this year, Diamond has been approved twice by the Senate banking panel to serve on the Fed, but would need confirmation by the full Senate.

After Diamond was first approved by the banking committee, a senator used a procedural obstacle to stall his confirmation. Obama renominated Diamond and the panel approved him a second time.