WASHINGTON The Senate Banking Committee voted Thursday to confirm Texas community banker Donald E. Powell to be chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Roger W. Ferguson Jr. to serve a second term on the Federal Reserve Board.
Their nominations now go to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote, which has not yet been scheduled.
Mr. Powell got unanimous approval, and Sen. Jim Bunning cast the lone vote against Mr. Ferguson. A spokesman for the Kentucky Republican said he has a long-standing disagreement with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan over monetary policy and fears Ferguson is a Greenspan clone.
Sen. Bunning thinks Greenspan acted too slowly recently in lowering interest rates and fears having Ferguson on the board would not serve to change that, the spokesman said.
Also on Thursday, Senate Banking held a hearing on two other Bush administration nominees for key financial posts: Sheila C. Bair, a New York Stock Exchange executive, to be assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions, and Mark B. McCellan, a Stanford University economics and medicine professor and a Treasury Department official in the Clinton administration, to join the Presidents Council of Economic Advisors.
In response to questions from Senate Banking Chairman Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., Ms. Bair said that the hot-button issues of financial privacy and predatory lending are of concern to her and that she believes the Bush administration shares her concerns.
She also told the committee that new privacy legislation should not be considered until financial companies and consumers have more experience with the current law.
On predatory lending, Ms. Bair told Sen. Sarbanes that she shares his concern and anger at recent reports on such practices as repeated loan refinancings, or flipping. She also said a distinction needs to be made between predatory and legitimate subprime lending.