This afternoon, the Senate filed cloture on the nomination of Lael Brainard to become undersecretary for international affairs, one of the highest ranking positions in the Treasury Department. Both Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are former undersecretaries for international affairs — the top governmental adviser on international economic issues, such as the dollar-yuan currency exchange rate. Brainard’s nomination had been held up for 13 months due to problems with some of her income tax filings.
There was speculation that President Obama might appoint Brainard — a longtime academic economist and Clinton appointee who has been working as a counselor in Treasury for months — over the Easter recess. But the recess appointment would have only lasted until the end of the congressional term. Now, once Brainard’s nomination passes an up-or-down vote, she will be in her position permanently.