U.S. Senator Manchin backs Michael Barr for top Fed regulatory job

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is seen in Washington, DC

By Pete Schroeder

(Reuters) - U.S. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who on occasions votes against his party in the evenly split Senate, said on Tuesday he intends to support Michael Barr for Federal Reserve vice chair for supervision.

In a statement, Manchin said he met with Barr last week and believes Barr would be a "good addition" to the Fed's board. If confirmed, Barr, who previously served as a senior Treasury Department official under President Barack Obama, would take over as the Fed's top regulatory official monitoring the nation's largest banks.

The support of Manchin is particularly significant because his opposition effectively sunk President Joe Biden's first nominee for that post, Sarah Bloom Raskin.

Raskin withdrew after Manchin announced he would oppose her nomination, citing concerns over her views on how financial regulators should address climate change.

Barr also enjoys backing from some in the Democratic Party's progressive wing, as Senator Elizabeth Warren said she would back his nomination after he was selected in April.

Barr was a central figure in helping craft the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law and has since served on the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School. He is set to testify Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee on his nomination.

If confirmed, Barr would take the post with a sweeping agenda that is likely to include revisiting rules that were eased under his predecessor, Randal Quarles, and taking steps to address climate change financial risk and the rapid growth of fintechs and cryptocurrencies.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas in Los Angeles; Editing by Caitlin Webber in Washington and Cynthia Osterman)

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