The U.S. Senate Banking Committee will be setting its sights on a pair of high-profile nomination hearings on Tuesday morning. First up, the Committee will meet in Executive Session beginning at 9:45 a.m. EST to vote on several nominations, perhaps most notably that of Brian Montgomery as Assistant Secretary for Housing—Federal Housing Commissioner, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Following that, at 10 a.m. EST, the Banking Committee will conduct a full open-session hearing on the nomination of Jerome Powell as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
President Trump nominated Powell as Fed Chair on November 2. A Federal Reserve Board governor who previously worked as a private-equity executive, Powell would succeed current Fed Chair Janet Yellen. After Powell’s nomination, Yellen announced on November 20 that she would be resigning from the Federal Reserve Board in February 2018, rather than serving out the remainder of her term through 2024.
Powell’s nomination is largely expected to meet little resistance in the Senate. Although Powell is a Republican and was nominated by President Trump, Democrats voted for him almost unanimously in 2012 and 2014 when he was nominated for the Fed board by President Obama.
During a June 1 speech to the Economic Club of New York, Powell said, "While the recent performance of the labor market might warrant a faster pace of tightening, inflation has been below target for five years and has moved up only slowly toward 2%, which argues for continued patience, especially if that progress slows or stalls."
As for Brian Montgomery, he is currently Vice Chairman of The Collingwood Group, a Washington D.C.-based advisory firm that he co-founded, and he previously served as Federal Housing Administration commissioner under former President George W. Bush. His supporters include the Mortgage Bankers Association, which urged the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee to pass Montgomery’s nomination in a letter this past September. In the letter, David H. Stevens, CMB, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association said, “MBA applauds the nomination of Brian Montgomery to lead the Federal Housing Administration. His previous experience will serve him well in this position. I hope the Senate will move quickly to confirm Brian and we look forward to working with him.”
During his October testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Montgomery said, “Some of my Republican friends and colleagues still ask why I agreed to serve in a Democratic Administration and my answer has always been the same: they asked for my help. It was that simple. Now when I’m asked why I would want to return to HUD, the answer is just as simple: I believe I can make a positive difference."