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UPDATE 1-Rep. Paul-make Senate confirm regional Fed heads

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
(Reuters) - A leading congressional critic of the Federal Reserve called on Wednesday for regional Fed bank presidents to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

"Since we will have the Federal Reserve for a while, yes, I think they should be confirmed," Ron Paul, who chairs a House of Representatives panel with oversight of the Fed, said in an interview with Reuters Insider. "They have a lot of power and authority."


The presidents of the 12 regional Fed banks around the country are chosen by those institutions' boards of directors and are vetted by the Fed board in Washington. Now, only the seven members of the Fed board are subject to Senate confirmation.

Nine-member regional Fed bank boards are composed of bankers in the district and representatives of the public, many of whom are non-bank business people. Two-thirds of them are picked by district banks, and the remainder by the Fed.

The top Democrat on the House Banking panel, Barney Frank, has questioned whether regional Fed bank presidents deserve to be able to vote on Fed policy decisions, and has proposed legislation taking away that authority.

Efforts to rein in Fed powers crescendoed after the financial crisis and the 2007-2008 recession, but the central bank emerged from regulatory overhaul with greater power, not less. (Reporting by Mark Felsenthal, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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