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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set up the first of two procedural votes as a step toward final confirmation. The Senate has waived rules that normally require 60 votes to overcome those procedural steps.
As a result, a simple majority of the 100-seat Senate can limit debate on Barr’s nomination to the Fed board. A similar “cloture” vote must also be held on his nomination as vice chair for supervision. It was unclear how soon after those hurdles are cleared that the final confirmation votes would occur.
If confirmed, Barr would fill the remaining vacancy on the Fed board and take on a broad agenda that is likely to include revisiting rules that were eased under his predecessor, Randal Quarles. The agenda is also likely to include possible steps to address climate change risk, fintechs and cryptocurrencies.
Last month the Senate Banking Committee advanced his nomination on a 17-7 vote that included the support of five Republicans.