The Senate confirmed Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to a second term with a strong bipartisan vote of 80-19 Thursday, following the confirmation of other Fed board nominees.
Powell’s confirmation comes as roaring inflation is damaging Americans’ bank accounts. President Biden, who called inflation his primary domestic concern earlier this week, pointed to inflation in his statement praising Powell’s confirmation.
“I have made it clear that tackling inflation is my top domestic priority,” Mr. Biden said. “So I am pleased to see the Senate take a step forward on my agenda to get inflation under control by confirming my nominees to the Fed. I want to thank the Senate for confirming Jerome Powell, Dr. Lisa Cook, and Dr. Philip Jefferson this week, joining the recent confirmation of Dr. Lael Brainard. The Federal Reserve plays a primary role in fighting inflation, and these well-qualified members of the Board will bring the skill and knowledge needed at this critical time for our economy and families across the country. We still have more work to do to finish filling the Fed Board, which is why I call on the Senate to swiftly confirm Michael Barr, my nominee for Vice Chair for Supervision.”
The Federal Reserve, which formulates U.S. monetary policy, plays a key role in setting interest rates. The Fed has already been ramping up interest rates in an effort to stave off record-high inflation. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, testifying before Congress earlier this week, said she believes the Federal Reserve can control inflation without causing a recession, pointing to a strong job market and strong household financials, among other things.
The chairman of the Federal Reserve serves a four-year term, and Powell, who was nominated by former President Trump to be chairman in 2017, has been serving in an interim capacity since his first term expired at the end of January.
The pace of inflation slowed — barely — in April, the first drop after eight straight months of increases. The Consumer Price Index rose 8.3% from a year ago, down from an 8.5% annualized increase in March.