Stanley Fischer's nomination to be vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, virtually assuring that the noted economist will join the central bank's board within days.
The Senate agreed 62-35 to limit debate on the nomination, allowing for a final vote just after midday on Wednesday. Fischer is widely expected to win Senate approval.
The arrival of Fischer, 70, will help bring the seven-member Fed Board of Governors back toward full strength after a period when its membership threatened to dip as low as three with the departure at the end of this month of Jeremy Stein.
Fischer's appointment for an initial four-year term as vice chairman puts him in a pivotal position as the central bank approaches decisions about the end of its stimulus programs and when to begin raising interest rates after five years of historically loose monetary policy.
The vote on a second nominee, former top U.S. Treasury official Lael Brainard, has not been scheduled but is expected in time for her to be in place for the Fed's next policy-setting session on June 17 and 18. Current Fed Governor Jerome Powell is also expected to be confirmed by then for a new term.