Obama nominates 2 to Federal Reserve Board

December 27, 2011 - 1:03 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — A vacationing President Barack Obama has nominated a Harvard University professor and a former Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush to the Federal Reserve Board.

In a statement, Obama praised Jeremy Stein and Jerome Powell for agreeing to serve his administration at a critical moment for the U.S. economy.

"Their distinguished backgrounds and experience coupled with their impressive knowledge of economic and monetary policy make them tremendously qualified to serve in these important roles," Obama said in a statement from Hawaii, where is on vacation with his family.

Stein is an economics professor at Harvard, where he teaches courses in finance. His research focuses on the behavior of stock prices, corporate investment and financial regulation. He previously served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Powell is a visiting scholar at the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center, where he focused on federal and state fiscal issue. He served as undersecretary of finance at the Treasury Department in the first Bush administration, where he was responsible for policy on financial institutions and the treasury debt market.

In nominating both a Democrat and Republican to the seven-member Fed board, Obama could be trying to head off a confirmation fight in the Senate. The White House has previously accused Republicans of purposely blocking qualified Obama nominees.