Michael Barr appointment to head Fed’s bank oversight advances

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Senate Banking Committee voted on Wednesday to advance the nomination of Michael Barr to serve as the Federal Reserve’s top regulatory official.

By a vote of 17 to 7, the panel agreed to send his nomination to the full Senate. If confirmed as vice chair for supervision, Barr, a former senior Treasury Department official, would be in charge of the Fed’s bank oversight.

President Joe Biden’s previous pick, Sarah Bloom Raskin, withdrew after garnering insurmountable opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

If confirmed, Barr would fill the remaining vacancy on the Fed board and take on a broad agenda that is likely to include revisiting rules that were eased under his predecessor, Randal Quarles, and taking steps to address climate change risk, fintechs and cryptocurrencies.

All 12 Democrats on the committee backed Barr’s nomination, as did five Republicans, including ranking member Patrick Toomey.

Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown called Barr an “exceptional nominee.”

Toomey, who led the opposition to Raskin’s nomination, said he backed Barr in part because the nominee had given him assurances that he would not use the role to promote rules that could limit the flow of capital to energy companies “to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The panel also voted to advance the nominations of Jaime Lizárraga and Mark Uyeda, Biden nominees to be commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Writing by Pete Schroeder and Dan Burns; Editing by Chris Reese and Howard Goller)