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Jerome Powell’s Term as Fed Chair Ended Last Saturday. The Senate Has Not Reconfirmed Him. What’s Up?

 

Jerome Powell’s Term as Fed Chair Ended Last Saturday. The Senate Has Not Reconfirmed Him. What’s Up?

Courtesy of Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Jerome Powell (Thumbnail)

Jerome (Jay) Powell

At 3:00 p.m. last Friday, the Federal Reserve quietly released the following statement:

“The Federal Reserve Board on Friday named Jerome H. Powell as Chair Pro Tempore, pending Senate confirmation to a second term as Chair of the Board of Governors. 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. In its annual organizational meeting in January, the Federal Open Market Committee separately named him as its Chair.”

This is the first time in a quarter century that a Fed Chairman’s term has lapsed before he was reconfirmed by the Senate. According to Reuters, the last time it happened was 1996 when Alan Greenspan served from March 3 to June 20 as Fed Chair Pro Tempore.

Powell has not even made it to a vote in the Senate Banking Committee, which has to happen before the full Senate can vote on his confirmation. So what’s going on? It appears that Democrats are playing hard ball since Republicans are waging a war against two of Biden’s other three nominees to serve on the Fed’s Board of Governors.

The two nominees under withering attack by Republicans are Sarah Bloom Raskin for Vice Chairman for Supervision and Dr. Lisa Cook for Governor. There is much less push back on the third nominee, Dr. Philip Jefferson.

Raskin is more than qualified as a former Fed Governor and former Deputy Treasury Secretary. But as Vice Chairman for Supervision, she would be in charge of supervising the megabank holding companies on Wall Street. The Fed has effectively outsourced that job to the New York Fed and Wall Street likes it that way. The megabanks on Wall Street literally own the New York Fed and its perpetual bailout spigot, so they are not happy about any supervision coming from Washington.

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