Senate Committee Endorses Appointments to Fed Posts
WASHINGTON - The Senate Banking Committee endorsed two Federal Reserve Board appointments on Wednesday, but some members used the occasion to lambast the central bank and its policies.
In a voice vote, the panel approved the elevation of Fed Governor David W. Mullins Jr. to vice chairman. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., cast the only dissenting vote in what he termed a protest of the ineffectiveness of antirecession policies.
Later, the banking committee approved the nomination of Lawrence B. Lindsey to a vacant seat on the board, but by a 16-5 vote. Sen. Donald Riegel of Michigan the committee chairman, was among the dissenters - all senior Democrats - and said Mr. Lindsey lacks practical business experience.
Mr. Mullins' term as vice chairman would last four years. Mr. Lindsey would take the seat of former Governor Manuel H. Johnson, which expires Jan. 31, 2000.
Mr. Mullins, 45, was appointed to the Fed in May 1990 to serve out the six years remaining in the term of H. Robert Heller, who left for a senior position with Visa U.S.A.
A former Harvard University professor, Mr. Mullins came to Washington in 1989 as assistant Treasury secretary for domestic finance, and was an architect of the thrift bailout law.
Mr. Lindsey, 36, has been a special assistant to President Bush for domestic policy since last October. He, too, is a former Harvard professor.
The nominations now proceed to the full Senate, where Mr. Mullins should said through quickly. But Mr. Lindsey may face criticism similar to what he heard in committee.
Some members of Congress are upset by attempts to designate Mr. Lindsey as a representative of the Richmond Fed district to comply with geographical-diversity rules.
Meanwhile, President Bush is expected shortly to appoint Alan Greenspan to a second four-year term as Fed chairman. The current term expires Aug. 11.
Mr. Bush told a press conference Wednesday that he would announce his decision "soon." He referred to talk of Mr. Greenspan's not being reappointed as "ugly speculation."
This report includes material from Dow Jones and Reuters.