Lawrence Summers is out as President Barack Obama's initial pick to replace Ben Bernake as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Summers has personally taken his name out of consideration, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Summers earlier served as treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and chairman of Obama's National Economic Council. He informed the president Sunday of his decision, which would have met stiff resistance in the confirmation process.
Summers told the Journal, "I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interest of the Federal Reserve, the Administration or, ultimately, the interests of the nation's ongoing economic recovery."
The phone call to President Obama was followed with an official letter.
The nomination was fiercely blocked by liberals and women's groups over statements he has made while serving as president of Harvard University. That also included several Democratic members of the Senate Banking Committee who viewed him as a symbol of the many failures of financial regulation in the Obama administration.
The president accepted the withdrawal and said, Summers was "a critical member of my team as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it was in no small part because of his expertise, wisdom, and leadership that we wrestled the economy back to growth and made the kind of progress we are seeing today," the Journal reported.
So who will now be the front-runner for the position?
Ben Bernanke leaves the job at the end of the year. The search now focuses on Fed Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellin and Donald Kohn, who is former vice chairman. Surprisingly, Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's name has been floated for the position.
Geithner has indicated he is not interested.
Already, 20 U.S. senators, including 19 Democrats and one independent, have signed a letter of support for Yellen. If she is nominated and confirmed, she’d be the first woman to be chairman of the Fed.
It now appears that Yellen has the inside track for the nomination.
Summer's nomination had been contentious with liberal groups the better part of the last few months. Their concern derived from Summer’s support of deregulation measures for the banking industry during his time in President Bill Clinton’s administration.
The Senate Banking Committee declared their intention to oppose his nomination.
The decision by Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Jon Tester of Montana, to publicly announce their opposition to the nomination, created a numbers problem for Summers on the panel, where Democrats hold a 12-10 edge.
No Republicans endorsed the nomination.
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