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Senate approves Fischer nomination as Fed vice chairman, Brainard and Powell for Fed board

WASHINGTON - The Senate on Thursday confirmed President Barack Obama's nomination of Stanley Fischer to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, while also approving Lael Brainard and Jerome Powell to serve on the Fed's board.

The votes filled vacancies just before a meeting of the central bank's policy panel next week.

The Senate voted 63-24 to approve the nomination of Fischer, a former head of the Bank of Israel, to the Fed's No. 2 post. Brainard, a former Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, was approved on a 61-31 vote, and Powell won a second term on the Fed board on a 67-24 vote.

The Senate's action means five of the seven Fed board seats have now been filled in advance of a meeting of the central bank's interest-rate committee Tuesday and Wednesday. Obama has yet to announce his nominations for the other two vacancies.

Fischer was approved last month as a Fed board member but his nomination to be vice chairman was held up, as were the other two board nominations, by Sen. Rand Paul. The Republican from Kentucky delayed the nominations in an effort to win a Senate vote on his bill giving Congress more oversight over the central bank's actions. He voted no on all three nominations Thursday.

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