In a Monday announcement, the White House announced President Biden will be nominating Powell as his pick to lead the Federal Reserve once his current term ends in February. The executive branch cited Powell’s “decisive action” in lessening the economic impact brought on by the pandemic as well as the creation of 5.6 million jobs and a 4.6% unemployment rate.
In addition, Biden chose current Fed board member Lael Brainard to be vice-chair of the agency. Brainard’s 14-year term as a member of the Federal Reserve is scheduled to expire in 2026 while Powell’s ends in 2028.
“I’m confident that Chair Powell and Dr. Brainard’s focus on keeping inflation low, prices stable and delivering full employment will make our economy stronger than ever before,” said the U.S. president. “Together, they also share my deep belief that urgent action is needed to address the economic risks posed by climate change, and stay ahead of emerging risks in our financial system.”
Seven members are expected to sit on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, each nominated by the current U.S. president, confirmed by the Senate and expected to serve 14-year terms. Though Powell would be serving only four years within his existing term if confirmed as Fed chair, he would still attend a confirmation hearing of the Senate Banking Committee before his nomination could be voted on in the Senate. Randal Quarles announced on Nov. 8 he will be leaving by 2022, giving President Biden the opportunity to fill three Fed seats.
However, Monday’s picks represent only a slight change of leadership within the Fed as Biden did not tap current vice-chair Richard Clarida to continue his duties from January 2022 when three empty seats will likely be available. The White House said Biden aimed to announce his picks for those positions as well as for the Fed’s vice chair for supervision in early December with a focus on “improving the diversity in the Board’s composition.”
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During his time as Fed chair, Powell has been vocal on the role of digital assets in U.S. markets as the space grows in size and popularity. He said in September that the agency was “working proactively to issue a CBDC” but was unlikely to support a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).