Senate confirms Jerome Powell to another term as Federal Reserve chair

The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Jerome Powell to another term as Federal Reserve chairman in a bipartisan vote of 80-19, as the Washington Examiner reports.

Powell’s confirmation marks a continuation of the Republican central banker’s initial tenure in the role, which began during the administration of former President Donald Trump, and though his first stint on the job expired earlier this year, he has served on an interim basis ever since.

The news of the Senate vote comes as soaring inflation continues to endanger the financial security of millions of Americans, something of which President Joe Biden took note when lauding the decision to confirm Powell once more, as CBS News noted.

“I have made it clear that tacking inflation is my top domestic priority. So I am pleased to see the Senate take a step forward on my agenda to get inflation under control by confirming my nominees to the Fed,” Biden said.

Later on the same day he was re-confirmed by the Senate, Powell issued some sober words of warning about the central bank’s ability to prevent a recession, as the Associated Press reported.

Over the last several weeks, Powell has suggested that interest rate hikes were not inconsistent with the desire to achieve an economic “soft landing,” in that the Fed would attempt to tighten the cost of borrowing money just enough to slow inflation, but without taking the sort of drastic steps that could provoke recession.

However, during an interview on NPR, Powell admitted that such a strategy could ultimately be undermined by economic circumstances currently unfolding in China and Europe.

“The question whether we can execute a soft landing or not – it may actually depend on factors that we don’t control,” Powell stated. “There are huge events, geopolitical events going on around the world, that are going to play a very important role in the economy in the next year or so.”

Powell further noted that the Fed was not necessarily averse to a substantial hike of its benchmark rate – upwards of three-quarters of a point – if inflation remains high over the next few months, yet another indication that the Biden economy has faltered so badly that unpopular course corrections considered to be off the table just days ago are now looking like very real possibilities.