Some attention is being garnered this morning by Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul who is making noises about putting the nomination of Janet Yellen as the next Chair of the Federal Reserve on “hold.”
Paul is threatening to do so unless Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agrees to put the Kentucky Senator’s S.209, “The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013” to a Senate floor vote.
*** Nothing much will in fact come of the hold threat. Paul did not seek — and is highly unlikely to get — the support of the Senate Republican leadership. It will not derail, and may not even delay, Yellen’s confirmation. ***
*** The GOP leadership, while not necessarily supportive of Vice Chair Yellen or the Fed’s QE program, nonetheless see her confirmation as a desirable continuity to ease market concerns, and is not expected to oppose her confirmation. ***
*** Yellen’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Banking Committee are likely some time either just before or just after the Thanksgiving recess the last week of November, and we expect her to be easily confirmed some time in December. ***
There is a deep Senate tradition of holds being requested on presidential nominees, but there is no legally binding power to do so other than as a long standing courtesy. Our understanding is that Majority Leader Reid will ignore Paul with at most agreeing to ask the Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson if he would be willing to entertain the bill, which is unlikely.
For the most part, the Senate leadership of both parties see the Paul threat as a grandstanding stunt to woo back supporters on the libertarian right who had migrated to rival Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz in his defund Obamacare crusade.