Elizabeth Warren says she will oppose Jerome Powell’s nomination

Massachusetts Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren said Monday she would not vote to confirm Jerome H. Powell for a second term as Federal Reserve Chairman, citing “failures in regulation, climate and ‘ethics”.

Ms Warren, who called Mr Powell a “dangerous man,” pushed President Biden to appoint Lael Brainard as the next central bank chairman. Mr Biden’s decision to nominate Ms Brainard as the second Fed Fed has drawn support from Ms Warren, but she said she will continue to push for new governors who support aggressive financial regulation.

“It’s no secret that I oppose the re-appointment of President Jerome Powell, and I will vote against him,” Ms. Warren said in a statement.

Other powerful Democrats, as well as Republican lawmakers, have expressed support for Mr Biden’s move, saying it will keep the central bank on a stable course and protect its political independence in a time of inflation and economic downturn. economic uncertainty for the country.

Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio and chair of the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees the Fed, praised Mr Powell’s role in helping the job market recover from the pandemic downturn and giving workers a bigger bargaining power in terms of higher wages.

“The Federal Reserve must continue to help steer our economic recovery in the right direction – toward full employment and an economy that empowers workers and their families,” Mr. Brown said. “I look forward to working with Powell to stand up to Wall Street and stand up for working people to share in the prosperity they create.”

Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana, said on Twitter that the move “was a smart move.”

Mr Biden’s decision to re-elect Mr Powell, who was first appointed by former President Donald J. Trump, takes the country back to a long tradition in which presidents of both parties have embraced Fed chairmen chosen by their predecessors, in an expression of support. for the political independence of the central bank. Mr. Trump has shaken up tradition by replacing Janet L. Yellen with Mr. Powell in 2018.

Some progressive Democrats had urged Biden to also break with tradition and appoint someone else to the post. Besides Ms Warren, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Jeff Merkley of Oregon had called for Mr Powell’s replacement, citing his views on climate change, financial regulation and an ethics scandal at the central bank.

Mr Whitehouse said in a statement Monday that he was “disappointed” with the decision, adding that Mr Powell had done too little to tackle climate change.

“Our Fed chairman must devote immediate and thorough attention to the climate threat before it is too late,” Whitehouse said in the statement. “I sincerely hope that, if confirmed, Powell will reassess his past opposition to using the Fed’s regulatory tools to minimize climate-related risks to the financial sector.”

Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of community, labor and civil rights groups, called the move “a major disappointment for those of us who fought for tighter regulation of Wall Street.”

Mr Biden’s decision to appoint Ms Brainard as vice-chair could help allay some of these concerns. Some progressive groups had been pushing for Ms Brainard to head the central bank, in part because of her views on climate change and financial regulation.

Mr Whitehouse applauded Ms Brainard’s appointment in his statement, saying “it clearly recognizes the seriousness of the climate-related financial and economic risks our country faces and will push the Fed to make full use of its regulators in this space. “.

Other groups that have criticized the Fed have expressed support for the choices, particularly Ms Brainard.

The Fed Up Campaign, which advocates more accommodative monetary policies and full employment, said the Fed must “pursue macroeconomic policies conducive to jobs, wage growth and racial justice as long as economic conditions continue. will allow it “.

“Governor Brainard is a strong choice for the vice president, and we expect Biden to continue to name some really bold and pro-worker choices to vacant governor seats,” the group said.

Lawmakers have also expressed support for the move, although some Republicans have expressed concerns over Ms Brainard, who has pushed for tighter financial regulations.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, the top member of the Senate Banking Committee, said he disagreed with some of Mr Powell’s decisions during the crisis, but would support his appointment.

“When the pandemic struck in 2020, President Powell acted swiftly and took extraordinary and necessary steps to help stabilize financial markets and the economy,” Toomey said in a statement.

The senator expressed “concerns about the regulatory policies that Governor Brainard would support as vice president,” but said he was eager to discuss these issues.

Mr. Powell and Ms. Brainard must obtain confirmation in the Senate by a simple majority vote. (An earlier version of this article incorrectly said they needed 60 votes in the Senate to be confirmed.)

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