WASHINGTON—The Senate Banking Committee voted to advance the nominations of the economist Richard Clarida to be vice chairman of the Fed board, as well as Kansas Banking Commissioner Michelle “Miki” Bowman, who was nominated for a board seat designated for a community banking expert.

Clarida was approved by the committee in a 20-5 vote, while Bowman was approved 18-7.

Both nominations were strongly opposed by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who suggested that Fed staff wrote the nominees' responses.

“I was disappointed by the written responses I received from Dr. Clarida and Commissioner Bowman,” Brown said. “Several of their responses were identical or nearly identical. These are in the committee’s records. ... As talented as the Fed staff is, I don’t want the responses from them; I want them from the nominees.”

Michael Clarida and Michelle "Miki" Bowman, nominees to Federal Reserve Board
Both Richard Clarida and Michelle "Miki" Bowman are expected to be approved shortly by the full Senate for spots at the Federal Reserve Board. Bloomberg News

Clarida is a professor at Columbia University and managing director of Pacific Investment Management Co. If confirmed, he would fill the vice chairman's seat that has been vacant since October when Stanley Fischer retired.

Bowman was a fifth-generation banker and senior executive at Farmers and Drovers Bank in Council Grove, Kan., before becoming the state's bank commissioner in 2017. She was also a staffer for former Sen. Bob Dole.

Both Clarida and Bowman are expected to be confirmed shortly by the full Senate to the seven-member Fed board.

Another Fed board nominee, Marvin Goodfriend, may not be so fortunate, however. Goodfriend, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and former monetary policy adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, was approved earlier this year by the Senate Banking Committee in a party-line vote. Since then, his nomination has languished before the full Senate.

“Clarida and Bowman are well on track but Goodfriend’s nomination could be in trouble,” said Ed Mills, an analyst at Raymond James.

Isaac Boltansky, an analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading, said in a note Tuesday that Goodfriend is still in limbo.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., initially opposed Goodfriend’s nomination shortly after he first testified to the Banking Committee. The absence of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also poses a roadblock for Goodfriend.

“The Marvin Goodfriend nomination to the Board remains in limbo, but the odds of his confirmation are slim-to-none at this point,” Boltansky said. “Assuming that both [the Clarida and Bowman] nominations clear the Senate and the Goodfriend nomination gets rejected, there will be two remaining vacancies on the Federal Reserve’s seven-member Board of Governors.”

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Neil Haggerty

Neil Haggerty is the Congress reporter for American Banker. He previously was a financial regulation reporter at MLex Market Insight.