President Joe Biden says he is close to picking his nominee to run the Federal Reserve, noting that the decision will probably come “in about four days,” reports said Tuesday.
During a short press conference in New Hampshire during a visit to tout the newly signed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, Biden said that his Fed announcement will probably come by week’s end.
“As my grandfather would say, with the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbors, you’re gonna hear that in about four days,” Biden told reporters.
The Washington Times reported that Biden was already expected to name someone by Thanksgiving, in order to give the nominee time for Senate confirmation hearings before the term of the current Fed chairman, Jerome Powell, expires in February.
According to the Times, Biden is considering re-nominating Powell or instead, choosing the sole Democrat on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, Lael Brainard. The outlet reported that Biden interviewed both of them last week at the White House.
“I’ve given a lot of thought to it,” Biden told reporters earlier this month on the sidelines of the United Nations climate-change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
“I’ve been meeting [with] macroeconomic advisers on what the best choices are. We’ve got a lot of good choices. But I’m not going to speculate now,” he added.
Former President Donald Trump nominated Powell in 2017; he was eventually confirmed with wide bipartisan support and as such would likely be an easy selection for Biden in an increasingly partisan, evenly divided chamber since Republicans have widely praised him for economic policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was confirmed on a vote of 84-13 the following year. He also has the support of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who was replaced by Powell.
However, Powell has also faced growing criticism from left-wing progressive Democrats following reports that senior Federal Reserve officials were trading in securities during the pandemic, the Times reported.
In particular, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), has accused the Fed chairman of tolerating “a culture of corruption” at the nation’s central bank, while adding that the stock transactions raise “legitimate questions” about possible insider trading and other conflicts of interest.
The controversy has, in turn, created an opening for Brainard, though it’s not clear that Biden is leaning towards selecting her instead of Powell.
That said, her meeting with Biden ran a little longer than the allotted one-hour interview slot. And The Wall Street Journal reported subsequently that their meeting went better than some had anticipated.
Whoever gets the nod has a huge task ahead of them: Figuring out how best to deal with quickly rising inflation, Reuters noted.
“Most pressing will be deciding whether interest rate increases that may put the brakes on the recovery underway in the job market are needed soon in order to bring the rapid price increases for everything from groceries to motor vehicles to heel,” the newswire reported.
“The economy is still some 4.2 million jobs short of the total level of payroll employment before the COVID-19 pandemic briefly stopped the U.S. economy in its tracks in the spring of 2020, and Fed officials had hoped to keep their policy loose to help nurse along that recovery,” Reuters added.
In addition, there are ongoing supply chain issues — bottlenecks and delivery delays caused in part by lingering labor shortages, which are contributing to inflationary increases the likes of which have not been seen in a generation.
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