September 16th, 2013 9:15 am | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Politics, Congress

Merkley Helps Derail Obama's Choice for Fed Chief

Jeff Merkley 1U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley - PHOTO: Soma Honkanen

For a rookie U.S. Senator embarking on his first re-election campaign, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), is doing a great job of getting his name in the paper. 

His doing so by sticking his thumb in the eye of President Barack Obama and the many powerful interests on Wall Street and elsewhere who wanted to see Larry Summers succeed current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The Federal Reserve chairman orchestrates this country's monetary policy and holds arguably the most important financial policy position in the world.

As has been widely reported, Merkley and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), members of the Senate Banking Committee, both bucked the president with public announcements that they would oppose Summers' appointment.

Here's how Bloomberg quoted Merkley on Sept. 12

"I start from a position of being extraordinarily skeptical that his background is appropriate for the role of the head of the Fed. If you nominate someone who is a life-committed deregulator to be in a regulatory position, and if you believe regulation is necessary to prevent fraud, abuse, manipulation and so forth, then there's a lot of questions to be asked: Why is this person appropriate?"
That's a gutsy play for a first-termer. Merkley, Brown and other critics they blame Summers' enthusiasm for deregulating financial markets for contributing to the excesses—such as predatory lending, excessive risk taking and unbridled financial speculation—that led to the 2008 recession.

And over the weekend, Summers, who served as treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and a top  White House aide in Obama's first term and whom national pundits said was the president's choice to be the Fed nominee, withdrew.

That decision came after Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) also said he'd oppose Summers but Merkley was there first.

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