Senate committee backs 2 nominees for Fed's board

AP

(AP) WASHINGTON - A Senate committee has approved President Barack Obama's two nominations to fill vacancies on the Federal Reserve's board. But prospects for a quick confirmation in the full Senate are uncertain.

The Senate Banking Committee approved by voice vote the nominations of Jeremy Stein, a Harvard economics professor, and Jerome Powell, an investment banker who served in the George H.W. Bush administration.

Obama nominated Stein, a Democrat, and Powell, a Republican, in hopes that pairing nominees from both parties could overcome Republican objections. The Fed board hasn't operated with a full seven members since 2006.

But one Republican senator, David Vitter, a critic of the Fed's policies, has expressed opposition. That won't necessarily block the nominees' confirmation.

But it means the Senate won't vote before its two-week break starts this weekend.