The United States Senate has confirmed the nomination of Jerome Powell as the chair of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System until 2026.
In an 80–19 landslide vote on the Senate floor on Thursday, U.S. lawmakers confirmed Powell as chair of the Federal Reserve, a position he held from February 2018 until February 2022, when he was named chair pro tempore until a confirmation vote could be secured.
Powell was one of four Fed nominees awaiting a full Senate vote following weeks of delays due, in part, to partisan obstructionism — Republican lawmakers in the Senate Banking Committee boycotted a meeting in February that would have likely sent Powell’s nomination to the Senate for a vote earlier.
However, some of President Joe Biden’s nominations for the Fed have recently moved forward. In April, the Senate confirmed Lael Brainard as Fed vice chair in a 52–43 vote, and on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm economist Lisa Cook as a Fed governor for a term ending in 2024. Philip Jefferson had the largest bipartisan support in his 91–7 confirmation vote on Wednesday, which also granted the economist a seat on the Federal Reserve Board until 2036.
The vote came amid inflation that has hit a 40-year high, fueled by the conflict in Ukraine and sanctions imposed on Russia, as well as Covid-19 restrictions in China that have raised concerns the global supply snarls may worsen.
The Fed chair has said his primary focus is on getting inflation under control, but acknowledged the effort could be painful.
“There may be some pain associated with getting back to that,” Powell said last week. “But the big pain over time is in not dealing with inflation and allowing it to become entrenched.”
President Biden said he’s pleased to see Powell confirmed, along with Cook and two other Fed nominees, Lael Brainard and Philip Jefferson.
“These well-qualified members of the Board will bring the skill and knowledge needed at this critical time for our economy and families across the country,” Biden said in a statement.
“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 added.