Progressive Democratic lawmakers urge Biden to replace Powell as Fed chair

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Photos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocratic bill would force Fed to defund fossil fuels Democrats brace for battle on Biden's .5 trillion spending plan 'Squad' members call on Biden to shut down Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyHaitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes Advocates 'in utter disbelief' after Biden resumes Haitian repatriations Democratic bill would force Fed to defund fossil fuels MORE (D-Mass.) are urging President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE to replace Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell as his term's end date nears. 

The trio of progressive Democrats, along with Reps. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) and Jesús García (D-Ill.), issued a statement on Monday calling on Biden to “re-imagine” a central bank that is “focused on eliminating climate risk and advancing racial and economic justice.”

The lawmakers said that while the central bank has "made positive changes to its approach to full employment reflected in the new monetary policy framework," their “concerns” with Powell’s “track record are two-fold.”

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They specifically took issue with what they saw as the little action his Federal Reserve has taken to “mitigate the risk climate change poses to our financial system,” citing the D-minus rating it received for its approach to climate risk policies from Positive Money’s Global Central Bank Scorecard.

That grade, according to the lawmakers, put the Federal Reserve “at the bottom of the G20 Central Banks.”

“At a time when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is warning of the potential catastrophic and irreversible damage inflicted by a changing climate, we need a leader at the helm that will take bold and decisive action to eliminate climate risk,” they wrote.

They also contended that the Federal Reserve under Powell’s leadership has “substantially weakened many of the reforms enacted in the wake of the Great Recession regulating the largest banks, including capital and liquidity requirements, stress tests, the Volcker Rule, and living will requirements.”

The lawmakers said rolling back those regulations that were established to prevent a disaster like the 2008 financial crisis from happening again “risks the livelihoods of Americans across the country.”

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“To move forward with a whole of government approach that eliminates climate risk while making our financial system safer, we need a Chair who is committed to these objectives," they wrote.

"We urge the Biden Administration to use this opportunity to appoint a new Federal Reserve Chair,” they added.

The group said that Biden's "consequential appointment" for the chair of the Fed "has the potential to remake the composition of the Board of Governors."

Some lawmakers and officials have joined the conversation regarding Powell’s future as February inches closer, airing their opinions on what Biden should do about the chief of the central bank as the country is still recovering from the difficulties faced amid the pandemic.

Powell, a Republican, was elevated to his position by former President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE in 2018. Former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOur remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Chelsea Manning tests positive for COVID-19 MORE, however, first appointed him to the Fed in 2012.

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The chair of the Federal Reserve serves four-year terms.

Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWhite House touts Nobel economists' support for Biden agenda Joe Manchin is wrong — we can't afford not to invest in our children The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - What do Manchin and Sinema want? MORE is reportedly backing Powell’s reappointment, Bloomberg reported earlier this month, citing multiple people with knowledge of the situation.

Sen. Steven Daines (R-Mont.) has also thrown his support behind Powell landing another term, asking Biden in a letter to renominate him to the job.

Progressives, however, are split when it comes to Powell’s reappointment.

Some lawmakers, economists and activists argue that his push for an employment-focused central bank is what the Fed needs to continue, while other liberals are contending that Powell undermined the economy when he scaled back key safeguards implemented by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownAdvocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees Wyden releases new tax proposals as Democrats work on .5T bill MORE (D-Ohio) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFederal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Mass.) have both criticized Powell for his support of weakening bank rules.

Both, however, have not yet said if they will back his renomination.

The statement from Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley was first reported by Politico.