Tags: obama | summers | fed | democrats | rebel

Summers Withdraws From Fed Consideration

Sunday, 15 Sep 2013 07:48 AM

By Cathy Burke

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The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday afternoon that Lawrence Summers is withdrawing from consideration as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Summers called President Barack Obama Sunday to say he is pulling out of the contest to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

"I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interest of the Federal Reserve, the Administration or, ultimately, the interests of the nation's ongoing economic recovery," Summers said in a letter to the president that followed the telephone call, according to the Journal.

Earlier story:

Opposition is mounting against Lawrence Summers as a possible pick for the next Federal Reserve chairman – with four Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee expected to vote "no" if President Barack Obama nominates him.

Jon Tester on Friday became the latest member to announce his opposition.

"Senator Tester believes we need a consensus builder to lead the Federal Reserve. He's concerned about Mr. Summers' history of helping to deregulate financial markets," said Andrea Helling, spokeswoman for the Montana Democrat.

Tester also suggested Summers is far more chummy with Wall Street than Main Street.

Summers was President Clinton's Treasury secretary, and his backing for banking deregulation in the 1990s has been blamed for sowing the seeds of the 2007-2009 financial crisis that ultimately led to a massive taxpayer bailout of Wall Street.

"The senator thinks it is vital to have a chair who appreciates the important role small community lending institutions play in financial markets," his office said.

Summers, 58, currently a Harvard professor and former economic adviser to Obama, is widely thought to be the president's preferred choice to replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term ends in January.

The White House said Friday the president had not yet made a decision.
Tester, considered a political centrist, joins at least three other Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee expected to nix a Summers nomination.

Congressional aides have said Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also would oppose the pick, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In Warren's case, Summers had gone as far as asking for a meeting with her when both were in Massachusetts this summer, the Washington Post reported.

The meeting never happened because of scheduling issues, but the outreach underscores the behind-the-scenes push to install Summers in the top post at the central bank, the Post noted.

Democrats hold a 12-10 advantage on the banking panel, and the intensifying opposition from Democrats would make it impossible for Summers to advance without GOP support, the Journal noted.

Meanwhile, Summers has already suspended ties with Citigroup Inc. while the White House considers his nomination.

"Mr. Summers has withdrawn from participation in all Citi events while he is under consideration to be chairman of the Federal Reserve," Danielle Romero-Apsilos, a spokeswoman for the New York-based lender, said in an e-mailed statement.

Summers was supposed to give the keynote address on challenges to the global economy at a Citigroup research seminar in Washington on Oct. 13.

Summers also was on Citigroup's payroll "for small private-bank client and institutional client meetings," Romero-Apsilos said in an earlier e-mailed statement. Summers provided "insight on a broad range of topics including the global and domestic economy."

Kelly Friendly, a spokeswoman for Summers, declined to comment.

Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen is another possible candidate for the job – and she's got the backing of 20 Senate Democrats who've signed a letter urging Obama to nominate her. Tester was not among them.

Yellen would be the first-ever woman to lead the U.S. central bank, if nominated and confirmed.

Liberal opposition may make it harder for Obama to conclude he can nominate Summers at a time when the president needs their support on tough issues including a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and to keep funding the government.

Republicans haven't said much publicly about Summers, although the party's second-ranking member in the Senate, John Cornyn of Texas, has announced he would not back him for the position, and a few other Republicans have also expressed opposition.

Newsmax wire services contributed to this report

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