Fed vice chair nominee Jefferson heads to Senate confirmation

Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's annual Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole

By Richard Cowan and Ann Saphir

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to clear the way for the confirmation this week of Federal Reserve Governor Philip Jefferson to be vice chair of the U.S. central bank.

The 83-10 cloture vote, which limits debate on his nomination, marks the next-to-last step in a process that would install Jefferson with solid bipartisan backing in the No. 2 post at the Fed, which is chaired by Jerome Powell.

President Joe Biden has also nominated Fed Governor Lisa Cook to a new 14-year term, and picked World Bank economist Adriana Kugler to fill the last open seat of the seven-member Fed Board. All three nominees won approval in July from the Senate Banking Committee to advance to consideration by the full Senate, and Jefferson's is the first to move ahead.

The Senate will vote on Cook and Kugler’s nominations in the next few days, Senator Sherrod Brown said before Jefferson vote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, sets the schedule for floor debate and votes on all legislation and nominations.

The Fed is widely expected to leave its policy rate in its current range of 5.25%-5.00% when it meets later this month, marking a possible end to what has been a year and a half of aggressive rate hikes to beat too-high inflation.

Jefferson and Cook have both voted for every rate hike since they joined the Fed in May 2022.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Ann Saphir; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast.)