WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that President Obama told a meeting of Senate Democrats that he is reviewing a number of candidates as a potential chairman of the Federal Reserve Board to succeed Ben Bernanke next year and has not yet narrowed the field.
In comments to reporters after Obama left the meeting with Senate Democrats, Reid said the president indicated that he has a "long list of people he's talking to" as a possible successor to Bernanke.
Asked if he has concerns about one potential candidate, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, Reid has he "personally doesn't."
"He's a very competent man," Reid said of Summers.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third ranking Senate Democrat, was more non-committal about Summers as a Fed chief. "I think there are a lot of good candidates," Schumer said.
On fiscal matters, Reid said Obama urged Democrats to focus this summer and fall in arguing for policies that stimulate economic growth and job creation which helps the middle class.
Reid said Obama and congressional Democrats are eager to negotiate with Republicans on ways to replace the sequester with less draconian deficit cuts. "Our door is open," Reid said, adding that policymakers should try to avoid "more self-inflicted wounds."
Schumer said that replacing the sequester is key to boosting growth. "As the result of sequestration, job growth is anemic," he said.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray said Obama repeated that the won't negotiate over increasing the statutory debt ceiling this fall.
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