The Senate confirmed one of President Trump’s picks Thursday to a vacancy on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors in a vote that reflected increased partisan tensions over the Fed.
Christopher Waller, the research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, was confirmed on a 48-47 vote to a term that runs through January 2030. He has attended meetings of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year in his capacity at the St. Louis Fed. He headed the University of Notre Dame’s economics department before joining the regional Fed bank in 2009.
Mr. Waller’s largely party-line confirmation vote also stemmed from Democrats’ broader frustrations with how the Trump administration has managed financial-policy issues during the lame-duck period. The Treasury Department last month declined to renew emergency Fed lending facilities that will expire on Dec. 31.
Five of 12 Democrats had voted in July to advance Mr. Waller’s nomination out of the Senate Banking Committee, but he received no backing from Democrats on Thursday. One Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, also opposed his confirmation.
Mr. Waller’s confirmation was secured with fewer votes for any Fed governor since at least 1980. Party-line votes for Fed board positions hadn’t previously occurred, reflecting the central bank’s normally apolitical nature.