Senate confirms Jerome Powell as Fed chairman
The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell as the next chairman of the central bank by an overwhelming bipartisan margin.
The vote on Powell’s confirmation quickly cleared the simple majority of senators necessary to confirm him to replace Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Feb. 3. The final count stood at 84-13, one of the widest margins of confirmation for a Trump nominee.
Nearly all Republicans and a vast majority of Democrats supported Powell’s confirmation. Those opposed included conservative GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Mike Lee (Utah), and potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
The Senate voted earlier Tuesday afternoon to end debate on Powell’s nomination in an 84-12 vote.
Trump nominated Powell to replace Yellen as chair in November. Powell had served on the Fed board since his appointment by former President Obama in 2012. The Senate Banking Committee approved Powell’s nomination by a near-unanimous vote in December, with only Warren opposing him.
Powell supported every decision Yellen made regarding monetary policy, wooing Democrats who praised the current chairwoman’s steady hand. While many Democrats said they wished Trump renominated Yellen, they were reassured by Powell’s almost identical views on regulation and monetary policy.
Republicans pressed Powell on making broader changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, but posed little opposition to his closeness to Yellen on monetary policy.
Powell supports a slew of moderate fixes to the Dodd-Frank Act backed by several regulators across the ideological spectrum. He’s advocated for reducing the number of banks forced to comply with the Volcker Rule and lowering the threshold at which a bank is considered big enough to warrant signficant federal oversight. Powell has also supported reducing the frequency of federal stress tests and revealing more about the way the Fed judges the riskiness of big banks.
This article was updated at 7:21 p.m. to reflect the corrected vote total on Powell’s confirmation.