Biden taps Jerome Powell for second term as Fed chair, spurning progressives

President Biden announced Monday that he will nominate Jerome Powell to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, signaling that he believes the battle-tested central bank chief, who navigated the U.S. economy through the depths of the worst recession in nearly a century, is the best person for one of the most high-stakes jobs in the world.

The announcement ends months of speculation over whether Biden would stick with Powell, a Republican nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2017, or attempt to reshape the central bank by tapping Lael Brainard, the sole Democrat on the Fed's Board of Governors, to lead it. Only one Democrat has been selected for the top post in more than three decades.

Brainard has instead been chosen as vice chair of the board of governors, the No. 2 job at the Fed; she will succeed Richard Clarida, whose term expires Jan. 31, 2022. The nominations now head to the Senate for confirmation.

The Fed chair – one of the most powerful players in Washington, with the ability to dictate the pace of economic growth – is typically nominated for a second term, often to reinforce the central bank's independence from politics. Powell's four-year term was slated to end in February. 
Jerome Powell by Federalreserve is licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

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