Senate approves monetary policy expert as Fed vice chairman

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Donald Trump's nominee for the No. 2 post at the Federal Reserve.

Richard Clarida's nomination four a four-year term as vice chairman was approved on a 69 to 26 vote. The Senate also backed Clarida's nomination for a Fed board term.

Clarida is an economics professor at Columbia University and considered one of the nation's leading experts on monetary policy

The Senate action means the Fed board will now have four of its seven seats filled.

Trump will have the ability in his first two years in office to fill six of the seven seats on the board. Trump last year tapped Jerome Powell to be Fed chairman after deciding not to nominate Janet Yellen for a second term.

After refraining from commenting on the Fed's interest rate hikes during his first 18 months in office, Trump complained late last month in interviews and a Twitter post that he was not happy about the hikes, warning that they could make it harder for him to achieve his goals of boosting economic growth with an economic program that includes a $1.5 trillion tax cut and deregulation.

Rob Nichols, president of the American Bankers' Association, welcomed the Senate vote, praising Clarida for his "strong understanding of monetary policy and economics."

Nichols also called on the Senate to move forward with two other pending Trump nominations to the Fed. The president has nominated Michelle Bowman of Kansas to the board seat reserved for someone with community banking experience.

The president has also nominated Carnegie Mellon economics professor Marvin Goodfriend to another board vacancy, although that choice has drawn opposition from many Democrats concerned that Goodfriend might be less supportive of low-interest rate policies to fight unemployment.