Powell Wins Support of Majority of GOP Senators on Banking Panel

(Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell has the backing of more than half of the Republicans who sit on the Senate Banking Committee, support that could help him earn a second term to lead the central bank, despite sharp criticism from Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho said Tuesday he would vote to confirm Powell if President Joe Biden were to nominate him for another term, making him the seventh of 12 Republicans on the Banking panel to endorse the sitting Fed Chair. Crapo is also the top Republican on the Finance Committee. Biden has yet to announce who he intends to nominate as Fed chief.

Powell, whose term expires in February 2022, also enjoys broad support from Democrats who have praised his handling of the pandemic. However, Warren, the Massachusetts progressive, has opposed his reappointment, calling Powell “dangerous” for his stance on banking regulations and saying he “failed” as a leader in managing a scandal involving stock trading from top Fed officials.

The growing support from Republicans could mean that Powell could easily be re-confirmed in the Senate, even if a handful of Democrats don’t vote for him. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that Biden still had confidence in Powell amid the stock-trading revelations.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, has expressed reservations about Powell, but said he will support Powell if Biden were to renominate him.

No Democratic senator has called on Biden to name a specific alternative to Powell — such as leading rival Fed Governor Lael Brainard. Powell also has the backing of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Bloomberg has reported.

Other Republicans who have said they would vote for Powell include Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Steve Daines of Montana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.

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