National Economic Council (NEC) Director Gary Cohn is reportedly President Donald Trump’s top choice to replace Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen.
Trump is strongly considering dropping Yellen at the end of her term in 2018 in favor of Cohn, four sources familiar with the matter told Politico.
If the president does indeed choose to promote the NEC director as the world’s most influential central banker, he would be drawing a line between those within his administration that have an anti-globalist economic agenda, championed by senior advisor Steve Bannon, and those that prefer pro-free trade, traditional Republican market-oriented policies.
Conservative members of Congress are not fans of Cohn, given his history of donating to Democratic candidates, like Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and large donations to the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats have targeted Cohn for his history as one of Wall Street’s most powerful bankers. Cohn previously served as president of Goldman Sachs.
If appointed, Cohn would be at the helm of one of the more interesting, fragile times for the central bank since the onset of the Great Recession in 2007. Yellen only started raising interest rates in the final quarter of 2016, after years of carefully monitoring key economic indicators like unemployment, inflation and short and long-term bond yields.
Cohn would also be at the helm of Trump’s major deregulatory effort–a key campaigning point of his 2016 presidential push. Arguably the biggest undertaking Cohn would lead, besides monitoring economic conditions, would be the roll back of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.
The director has some support from both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Finance Banking Committee.
Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are charged with helping Trump find the next Fed chair, which could work to cause some conflict of interest allegations, as Cohn could essentially recommend himself for the position.
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