Two Democratic Senators oppose Powell as Fed Chair

Two Democratic Senators oppose Powell as Fed Chair

Washington Two Democratic senators said Friday they oppose reappointing Jerome Powell to a second term as Federal Reserve chair, saying Powell was not sufficiently committed to combating climate change, an issue the world’s central banks increasingly face.

Their opposition comes as President Joe Biden is expected to announce within days who he will choose for the country’s most powerful economic hub. Many Fed watchers expect Powell to be offered a second term, despite the emergence of Lyle Brainard, a member of the Fed’s Board of Governors, as a leading alternative.

“President Biden should appoint a Federal Reserve chair … he shares the administration’s view that combating climate change is the responsibility of every policymaker,” Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Jeff Merkley of Oregon said in a statement. “This person is not Jerome Powell.”

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Including Whitehouse and Merkley, three Democratic senators have publicly said they will vote against Powell, the former private equity executive who was promoted to Fed chair by President Donald Trump and whose term expires in early February. The other is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has called Powell a “dangerous man” to lead the Fed because of his support for relaxing some banking regulations.

Earlier this week, Biden said he would announce a decision within several days, although that could move into next week.

Whitehouse and Merkley did not say who they prefer over Powell. Brainard, a favorite of many progressives, has expressed a greater willingness than Powell to use the Fed’s tools, primarily his supervision of banks, to tackle climate change.

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