GOP Senator Endorses Powell for Fed Chair, Countering Warren
(Bloomberg) -- A key Republican senator became the latest Banking Committee member to endorse Fed Chair Jerome Powell for another term, countering Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s pronouncement that she considered Powell “a dangerous man” and vowed to oppose him.
“The alternative to Jerome Powell is not going to be better than Jerome Powell,” Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said Wednesday. “I think it’s in the best interests of the American economy given all the possible alternatives that we advocate Jerome Powell get another term.”
Cramer is the sixth of 12 Republicans on the Banking Committee to explicitly back Powell for a second term as chair of the Federal Reserve.
Powell’s term as chair expires in February. President Joe Biden’s advisers are considering a recommendation that he renominate Powell, a Republican elevated to the top spot by Donald Trump, for a second term as chair, and nominate the more liberal Fed Governor Lael Brainard as vice chair for supervision, a key bank regulatory role.
Warren told Powell as he testified to the committee on Tuesday in a televised hearing that she opposed a second term for him because his “record gives me grave concerns” and that he was “a dangerous man to head up the Fed.”
Later, she told Bloomberg News that she feared a repeat of the 2008-style economic meltdown if Powell chipped away at regulations that she argues keep the economy safe.
“I just think that’s her. That’s her mantra, that’s her heartbeat,” Cramer said. “I’d have a hard time criticizing the Fed for not being harsher on regulations.”
Warren’s opposition could make it easier for some Republicans to back Powell, even if he is nominated by a Democratic president. Some in the GOP, including the top Banking Republican, Pat Toomey, have criticized Powell for continuing to buy $120 billion a month in bonds this year and for what Toomey considers to be tolerating the politicization of the Fed on issues like climate change and racial justice.
But a number of other Republicans have backed Powell in interviews with Bloomberg News, including Banking panel members Thom Tillis of North Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Steve Daines of Montana and Jerry Moran of Kansas, as well as Rob Portman of Ohio.
A number of Democrats including Jon Tester of Montana and Ben Cardin of Maryland have also said they would back another Powell term.
Warren so far is the only senator to outright oppose Powell. Some other Democrats have criticized him over various aspects of his tenure, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
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