Manchin: 'Looking very favorably' at Powell as Fed chair after meeting

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better On The Money — Fed's inflation tracker at fastest pace since '82 Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE (D-W.Va.) told The Hill that he was "looking very favorably," but hadn't made a final decision, on supporting Federal Reserve Chair Jerome PowellJerome PowellKey inflation gauge rose 5.8 percent in 2021, most in 39 years Facebook winding down cryptocurrency effort: report The Hill's Morning Report - Who will replace Justice Breyer? MORE if he's renominated as chairman, after the two spoke on Wednesday. 

"Well we're looking very favorably towards that, because I needed that conversation with him. But I have not made up my mind yet. But I'm just saying that it helped an awful lot having him clear up a lot of the concerns I had," Manchin told The Hill.

The two spoke by phone on Wednesday, with Manchin telling reporters earlier this week that he was trying to set up a meeting to talk about his concerns with inflation and quantitative easing.

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“I want to find out why we’re still buying more quantitative easing," Manchin told reporters at the time.

Manchin has been signaling concerns about inflation for months, including sending up a red flag after data last week showed inflation at a 30-year high. 

Manchin has also been pushing for months for the Federal Reserve to stop quantitative easing, when the Fed buys billions of dollars in safe assets from financial institutions in an effort to stabilize the economy.

Manchin told The Hill that the two had a "very good conversation" and that Powell addressed some of his concerns and helped Manchin understand some of the thinking behind Federal Reserve strategy.

“I understand more of what his thought process is and where they are and basically the concerns they have and the challenges," Manchin said. 

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Manchin's meeting comes as President BidenJoe BidenFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Romney tests positive for coronavirus Pelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better MORE is nearing an announcement on who he will nominate as Fed chair. Manchin, however, stressed that the meeting was unrelated to the pending decision and that he and his office had tried to set it up for some time, "we've just been working on that."

Manchin supported Powell when he was previously nominated to lead the Federal Reserve, but but hasn't said how he will vote if Powell is renominated and warned for weeks that he wants more details from Powell on inflation. 

"Manchin wasn't enamored with him when I talked with him," said Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSwing-state voters concerned about Build Back Better's impact on inflation: poll Fiscal spending deadline nears while lawmakers face pressure to strike deal Conservative group rolls out .5 million ad buy pressuring Manchin, Tester to oppose Build Back Better MORE (D-Mont.), who supports Powell's nomination.

"Powell's got a proven record, he's a good man. We need him right now," Tester added.