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The gloves are off: Senators ready to fight over Yellen, Watt appointments

Democrats jump ahead, try to prevent Mel Watt filibuster

October 28, 2013
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Senate Democrats spent Monday getting jittery, a situation that resulted in Sen. Harry Reid, D-N.V., filing a motion for cloture to cut off a potential Senate filibuster over the confirmation vote covering Rep. Mel Watt's, D-N.C., nomination to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency later this week.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-SD, backed Reid’s maneuver Monday afternoon. 

"There is no legitimate reason Mel Watt should not be confirmed as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and I look forward to the Senate vote on his nomination later this week," Sen. Johnson said.

Yet, some in the Senate may find good reason, especially when it comes to the other big nomination from the President’s desk — namely that of Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve

Word on the street is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is threatening to interfer with the Yellen nomination, which is expected to take place sometime in November. Paul wants it delayed until he gets a full vote on the Federal Reserve Transparency Act – a proposed law that calls for an audit of the Fed.

But veteran banking expert Christopher Whalen took to Breitbart.com to say, Sen. Paul’s request to stall the nomination only addresses part of the problem.

He writes, "While it is notable that Senator Paul is willing to use the Yellen nomination to push forward his proposal to audit the central bank, the fact is that conservatives in the Senate who want to see job creation and growth restored in the U.S. should be opposing Yellen’s nomination in general terms."

While Whalen is fine auditing the Fed, he’s more concerned about having a Fed that can focus on pro-growth policies. He doesn’t find this spirit in Yellen, so he’s not threatened by a solid challenge to her appointment.

"In their new book 'Code Red,' co-authors John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper note that in 2005 Janet Yellen was an unapologetic apologist for former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s inflationist policies," Whalen points out. "She explicitly supported Greenspan’s decision not to deflate the housing bubble created by the Fed via easy money starting back in 2001."

While the Yellen nomination is expected to occur next month, the push for cloture to prevent a filibuster of Mel's Watt confirmation shows these appointments are still contentious, even with Yellen remaining Wall Street's favored pick in many ways.

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