Anti-Regulation Congressman Puzzled About How Fed Operates Without Top Regulator

Jeb Hensarling would prefer Janet Yellen just keep her hands in her pockets until Trump finds a man to be her second-in-command.
By US House of Representatives ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By US House of Representatives ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Some federal financial regulators are being given the green light to get to work even before President Trump gets around to nominating their leaders. At least one, however, is getting strict instructions not to.

Jeb Hensarling, who might have been Treasury Secretary but for the fact that he can do so much more for his banker friends as head of the House Financial Services Committee, and whose once-quixotic campaign to destroy Dodd-Frank has become all-too-real, has heard that the Federal Reserve is considering continuing to do its job even without a vice chairman for supervision. Specifically, its work making bank stress-tests even harder, which Jeb’s banker friends would prefer not happen. Such a move by the nominally independent central bank would not be met favorably on the Hill, he’s not afraid to tell Janet Yellen.

“If the Federal Reserve chooses to adopt rules prior to the confirmation of a Vice Chairman for Supervision, please be aware that we will work with our colleagues to ensure that Congress scrutinizes the Federal Reserve’s actions—and, if appropriate, overturns them—pursuant to the Congressional Review Act,” says the letter dated Thursday from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) and others on the committee. The act the letter refers to allows Congress to pass resolutions overturning rules adopted by independent agencies.

Oh, one other thing: That Fed vice chair job is one of the 515 jobs requiring Senate confirmation that Trump hasn’t got around to nominating yet, and he doesn’t appear to be getting any closer to making up his mind on it. Given this pace of hiring, perhaps Yellen and her colleagues should consider a long vacation? Through January of next year, perhaps?

Republicans Warn Fed Against Adopting New Rules Before Senate Confirms Trump Nominee [WSJ]
Trump Team Broadens Search for Fed Regulatory Post [WSJ]