WASHINGTON — The Senate easily approved Michael Barr to be the Federal Reserve's top banking regulator in a bipartisan vote Wednesday.
Barr, a former top Treasury official under President Barack Obama, is the last of President Joe Biden's three nominees to the Fed's board of governors to win Senate confirmation. All seven seats on the Fed's board are now filled, for the first time in roughly a decade, as the central bank tackles the worst inflation in 40 years.
The Senate voted 66-28 to approve Barr to serve as vice chair for supervision, the government’s primary financial regulator.
As a Treasury official, Barr helped design the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulations after the devastating 2008 financial crisis. He most recently was the dean of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
During a Senate hearing, Barr pledged to support the Fed's efforts to reduce inflation and said he would promote “clear rules” to govern financial innovation.
He also said during the hearing that Congress and financial agencies should regulate stablecoins, a form of cryptocurrency often pegged to the dollar, to protect consumers from sharp drops in their value, which can occur if stablecoins don't have sufficient assets to back up their dollar pegs.
Accelerating inflation is a vexing problem for the Federal Reserve, too. The Fed is already engaged in the fastest series of interest rate hikes in three decades, which it hopes will cool inflation by tamping down borrowing and spending by consumers and businesses.
The central bank is expected to raise its key short-term rate later this month by a hefty three-quarters of a point, as it did last month.