Senate

Sen. Whitehouse votes to confirm Fed chief Powell for second term after opposing renomination

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) voted Thursday to confirm Jerome Powell for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman after previously calling on President Biden not to renominate Powell for the position.

In a November 2021 statement, Whitehouse and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) urged against Powell’s nomination for a second term, saying that “Jerome Powell refuses to recognize climate change as an urgent and systemic economic threat.”

“During his tenure, Chair Powell first ignored climate change and then resisted calls for the Fed to use its tools to fight it, arguing that climate change ‘is really an issue that is assigned to lots of other government agencies, not so much the Fed,’” wrote Whitehouse and Merkley.

However, Whitehouse ultimately voted to confirm Powell as chairman, parting ways with Merkley, who voted against Powell’s confirmation. The two also differed in their votes on the Federal Reserve chief’s first nomination for the role 2018, with Whitehouse voting yes and Merkley no.

The Thursday vote came after Whitehouse and Powell spoke over the phone in January, according to Powell’s public calendar.

“In my conversation with Powell, he assured me that they will address my concerns,” Whitehouse said in a statement to The Hill. “So my ‘yes’ vote is a show of good faith to give him a chance to do right.  There are better avenues to influence the administration than voting no.”

The Senate voted 80-19 to approve Powell for another four-year term.

Powell was initially appointed to the Federal Reserve’s board of governors in 2012 by then-President Obama, before being appointed by then-President Trump as Fed chief, a position he assumed in 2018. After being renominated in November, Powell was cleared for a confirmation vote by the full Senate by the Senate Banking Committee in March.

Updated Friday at 8:16 a.m.

Tags Biden Economy federal reserve Federal Reserve Jeff Merkley Jeff Merkley Jerome Powell Jerome Powell Sheldon Whitehouse Sheldon Whitehouse Sheldon Whitehouse

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