WASHINGTON — The Senate voted 66-33 on Tuesday to approve Randal Quarles for a full 14-year term on the Federal Reserve Board.
Quarles was sworn in as vice chairman for supervision in October, but his separate term as a Fed governor expired in January. The confirmation vote, which included 15 Democrats supporting him, resolves concerns that he was serving on an expired term.
The Fed’s membership and leadership processes are somewhat unique among federal agencies. Each of the seven members of the Board of Governors serve static terms, meaning they expire according to a set timetable rather than for some duration after the member is sworn in. Governors can be re-nominated for an additional 14-year term only once.
By contrast, the chair, vice chairman and vice chairman for supervision each serve separate terms that expire four years from the moment the occupant is sworn in. Those positions can only be filled from among the sitting Board of Governors, so when a new nominee for a leadership position is selected, they also have to be nominated for an underlying governorship in order to assume that role.
This can lead to odd results, such as when former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan’s fifth term as chairman of the Fed was cut short in 2006 because his second term as governor had expired.