Obama tries to fill Fed board - again

@CNNMoney December 27, 2011: 1:46 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Contentious politics have left the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors operating without a full roster for more than five years. Now, President Obama will again try to fill the board's two open seats.

The president plans to nominate lawyer Jerome Powell and economist Jeremy Stein to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, according to a White House statement. Both candidates hold degrees from Princeton, have served briefly at the Treasury Department and have diverse backgrounds in the finance field.

"I am grateful that these individuals have agreed to serve their nation at this important time for our economy," Obama said in the release. "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."

Powell currently works as a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. He served as Undersecretary of the Treasury for Finance under President George H.W. Bush, and has donated money to Republican presidential campaigns including those of John McCain in 2008, and both Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman this year. He holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton and a law degree from Georgetown.

An economics professor at Harvard, Stein recently served stints at both the Treasury Department and the National Economic Council. In 2008, he donated to Obama's campaign. He holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Federal Reserve Board in Washington is supposed to be headed by seven voting members, but the last time all of those seats were filled was in April 2006.

Members are appointed by the president, but must be confirmed by the Senate. They can serve terms up to 14 years, but often end up resigning early.

Since 2006, both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama have struggled to push their nominees through the Senate. Obama's previous nominee, Nobel prize-winning economist Peter Diamond, withdrew his nomination in June, citing opposition from Senate Republicans. To top of page

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