WASHINGTON Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have posted several questions they would like the candidates for chairman of the Federal Reserve Board to answer, including whether thy support breaking up the biggest banks.
In an op-ed in the Huffington Post, Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Sanders, an independent from Vermont, said whoever becomes the next Fed chair "will have enormous power and influence" over the entire U.S. financial system and the U.S. economy.
That's why they want answers on four critical questions facing the central bank, covering everything from the Fed's mandate to past Wall Street deregulatory efforts. (Any nominee picked by the president would be vetted by a Senate panel before the nomination was sent to the floor for a vote.)
Following are their questions with a summary of the lawmakers' own views:
1) Would fulfilling the Fed's employment mandate be a "top priority?" What level of unemployment is "acceptable and should be the Fed's target?" Warren and Sanders: Because the Fed moved swiftly to save the financial system from near collapse, it should move more aggressively to confront unemployment.
2) Is the candidate willing to "work to break up 'too big to fail' institutions"? Warren and Sanders: The "too big to fail" banks are even bigger than they were in 2008 and must be addressed.
3) Was the financial crisis caused by the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act? Warren and Sanders: The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed the Depression-era law, caused the crisis, but they also dislike deregulatory efforts in the 1980s and 1990s.
4) How would the next Fed chair propose to help small- and medium-sized businesses create jobs? Warren and Sanders: Lawmakers are still waiting to see how the Fed's policies are actually going to help Main Street, not Wall Street.