Biden says he'll announce Fed picks 'fairly quickly'

Biden says he'll announce Fed picks 'fairly quickly'
© Associated Press/Evan Vucci

President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head David Weil: Wrong man, wrong place, wrong time  Biden's voting rights gamble prompts second-guessing MORE said Tuesday he will announce multiple Federal Reserve nominees “fairly quickly” after months of considering how to handle several current and future vacancies on the central bank’s board.

During a press conference at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Biden said several Fed nominees have been “in train” for some time, but did not specify how many he would name or when he would appoint them.

“I’ve given a lot of thought to it and I've been meeting with my economic advisors on what the best choices are. We've got a lot of good choices, but I’m not going to speculate now,” Biden said.

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Biden has a significant opportunity to reshape the Fed’s board of governors, the seven-person panel that controls Fed bank regulation and supervision, oversees the operations of the 12 reserve banks, and automatically serves on the bank’s broader monetary policy committee.

Each member of the Fed board is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate to terms of up to 14 years. Three members of the Fed board can also be appointed to serve four-year terms as chair, vice chair and vice chair of supervision.

Biden’s most pressing decision is whether to renominate Fed Chair Jerome PowellJerome PowellBiden selects Sarah Bloom Raskin, two others for Fed board Overnight Energy & Environment — Earth records its hottest years ever On the Money — SCOTUS strikes down Biden vax-or-test rules MORE, a broadly popular Republican in line with the White House’s views on inflation and employment. Powell would likely face little trouble being reconfirmed in a 50-50 Senate, but Biden is under immense pressure from progressives to replace Powell with a bonafide liberal who supports tougher bank rules. If not reconfirmed, Powell is set to end his time as chair in February.

Whether Biden renominates Powell will also likely affect his decisions regarding other Fed vacancies. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida’s stint as the board’s No. 2. runs out in January, the vice chairman of supervision slot became open when Fed Governor Randal Quarles’ term expired in October, and there is a vacant seat on the Fed board left unfilled by former President TrumpDonald TrumpClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  Why not a Manchin-DeSantis ticket for 2024? MORE.

Fed Governor Lael Brainard, the board’s only Democrat, is the frontrunner to replace Powell if Biden decides to nominate a new chair. If not, Brainard will likely be appointed to either the vice chair or vice chair of supervision role.

Those decisions are made more complicated by the ability of Powell, Clarida, and Quarles to stay on the Fed board as governors despite their chairmanships ending. Powell could stay on the board as a governor through 2028, Clarida could stay until 2022, and Quarles could remain on the Fed board through 2032.

Even so, most previous Fed chairmen and vice chairmen have stepped down from the bank after losing their titles.