Jack Lew

James Politi

The good news today was that Janet Yellen and Sarah Bloom Raskin were both sworn in today by Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve governors, meaning the top echelon of policymakers at the US central bank is nearly complete. Six seats on the seven-member board have now been filled, and Ms Yellen can now take up her position as vice-chair replacing the retiring Don Kohn.

Although Ms Raskin and Ms Yellen have enjoyed a relatively smooth ride through the confirmation process in the Senate, their colleague Peter Diamond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is having a much tougher time. Following grumblings about his suitability for the job from powerful Republican Richard Shelby, his nomination was scrapped and then resubmitted from the White House, and remains on hold in the upper chamber.

But Mr Diamond’s limbo is by no means the most troubling or most egregious. Jack Lew, the Obama administration’s pick for budget director, was cleared for the post in September by a Senate committee on a unanimous bipartisan vote. Read more