WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is considering naming Lael Brainard, a senior U.S. Treasury Department official and a veteran of Democratic administration economic policymaking, to fill a vacancy at the Federal Reserve, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
Brainard’s conversations with the administration have picked up in recent weeks and she is seriously considering the nomination, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the process.
The White House is also weighing naming Janice Eberly, a former Treasury Department official, to a Fed board seat, although that process is not as far advanced as Brainard‘s, the Post said.
The White House and the Treasury declined to comment on the report.
Obama, who has come under fire for not naming more women to top policymaking posts, has a chance to put a big mark on the U.S. central bank over coming months with picks to fill out the Fed’s seven-person Board of Governors.
He is considering candidates to replace Ben Bernanke when his second four-year term as Fed chairman expires in January.
At the same time, there is already one vacancy on the board and at least one other likely to open up soon. Elizabeth Duke left the Fed board at the end of last month; Obama has nominated Fed Governor Sarah Raskin to be deputy Treasury secretary; and Fed Governor Jerome Powell’s term expires at the end of January, although he could be reappointed by Obama.
Many economists also think Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen will step down when her term is up in October - if, as many expect, Obama nominates his former economic adviser Lawrence Summers to replace Bernanke.
Brainard is undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs, a key position in U.S. financial diplomacy. She was deputy director of the White House National Economic Council in the Clinton administration, when Summers was a top official at the Treasury.
Eberly is a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University who served until recently as assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy.
Reporting by Mark Felsenthal and Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Nick Zieminski