Consideration for Fed Chairmanship
Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers withdrew from consideration to be chairman of the Federal Reserve, averting a confirmation battle that divided Democrats on one of President Barack Obama's most important decisions.
"Any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interests of the Federal Reserve, the administration, or ultimately, the interests of the nation's ongoing recovery." Summers wrote in a letter dated today to President Barack Obama.
Obama said he accepted Summers' decision and called his former economic adviser a critical player "as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." Obama, in his statement, said he would "always be grateful to Larry."
Summers' withdrawal removes the Fed candidate closest to Obama, having advised the president since before his 2008 election on how to handle the financial meltdown. While the president has repeatedly defended Summers, his history as an advocate of deregulation and his comments, while president of Harvard, about whether women were naturally inclined to excel in the sciences made him a target among fellow Democrats.
The dollar weakened against major peers after Summers withdrew. The US currency lost at least 0.6 percent versus the yen, euro, Australian and New Zealand dollars by 7:12am in Tokyo. Futures on Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.2 percent as contracts on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index jumped 1 percent.
Summers, 58, was one of three candidates mentioned by Obama as possible replacements for Ben S. Bernanke, whose term as Fed chairman ends on Jan. 31. Janet Yellen, 67, the current Fed vice chairman, was also on the list along with Donald Kohn, 70, a former Fed vice chairman, the president said earlier.
Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, sometimes mentioned as another alternative, doesn't want the Fed post and has made that clear since leaving the Treasury early this year, according to a person familiar with his thinking who asked for anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Summers up until today was the president's favorite. The Syria debate worked to Summers' disadvantage, giving those opposed to his nomination time to keep pressure on the administration, according to a person familiar with the process, who asked for anonymity to talk about internal debates.
Over the last several weeks, as the White House was immersed in dealing with Syria, members of the Senate were repeatedly asked whether they'd support Summers or Yellen. Had the administration moved more quickly on naming Summers, that might have been avoided, the person said.
Twenty US senators, 19 Democrats and one independent, signed a letter of support for Yellen in July, who would be the first female Fed chairman if nominated and confirmed.
Montana Senator Jon Tester, a member of the Banking Committee, last week became the third Democrat to declare opposition to a Summers nomination, along with independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Senator Sherrod Brown, who circulated the letter and is a member of the banking panel, said at the time that the letter wasn't about Summers, "even though there is obviously a lot of opposition here to Summers." Brown's spokeswoman, Meghan Dubyak, said last week the Ohio Democrat probably would vote against a Summers nomination.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 09/15/2013
Editor's Note: "...as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." Did you know that Mr. Obama can say that without the aid of a teleprompter he has said the statement so many, many, many times?!...
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