Fed Names Jerome Powell Temporary Chair as Second Term Awaits Official Confirmation on Feb. 15

US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing on the confirmation of Jerome H. Powell, of Maryland, to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, District of Columbia, USA - 11 Jan 2022

On Feb. 4, the Federal Reserve Board named Jerome Powell as “Chair Pro Tempore,” pending Senate confirmation to a second term as Chair of the Board of Governors, according to a Fed announcement.

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“The action, effective February 5, enables him to continue to carry out his duties as Chair after the expiration of his term on the same day, and while the confirmation process is underway,” the Fed said in its announcement.

President Joe Biden nominated Powell in November for a second term as Chair of the Board of Governors. His term as a Federal Reserve Board member runs through 2028. Biden also said he will nominate Dr. Lael Brainard to serve as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, according to a statement on the White House website. 

“While there’s still more to be done, we’ve made remarkable progress over the last 10 months in getting Americans back to work and getting our economy moving again,” Biden said in the statement on Nov. 22, 2021.  “That success is a testament to the economic agenda I’ve pursued and to the decisive action that the Federal Reserve has taken under Chair Powell and Dr. Brainard to help steer us through the worst downturn in modern American history and put us on the path to recovery.”

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The Wall Street Journal reported that the move is largely procedural because the Senate hasn’t voted on his confirmation. The last time a Fed chief’s term expired before a Senate confirmed a new term was in 1996, Reuters confirmed, when the Fed’s board voted to appoint Alan Greenspan as chair pro tempore on Friday, March 1 of that year, the last business day before his term expired. The Senate confirmed his third term as Fed chair on June 20, 1996.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement in November that “the steady leadership of Chair Powell and the Federal Reserve helped ensure that America’s economy was able to recover from a once-in-a-generation health and economic crisis.”

“Over the past few years, Chair Powell has provided strong leadership at the Federal Reserve to effectively meet and address unexpected economic and financial challenges, and I am pleased our economy will continue to benefit from his stewardship,” Yellen said in the statement. “I am also grateful that the President has nominated Dr. Brainard to serve as Vice Chair. Lael is a respected economist with years of experience and has been instrumental in the nation’s recovery.”

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The Senate Banking Committee plans a vote on his confirmation on Feb. 15, Bloomberg reported.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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