Biden’s Fed chair pick is ‘imminent,’ Senate Banking chair says

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Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown said he was told by White House officials to expect an “imminent” announcement about President Joe Biden’s pick to chair the Federal Reserve.

“I hear it’s imminent,” Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said Monday in a brief interview at the Capitol. “I’m not going to speculate who I think it might be now. I assume the decision’s been made and they haven’t announced it, but I don’t even know that,” he said.

Other senators and Senate Banking Committee staff were alerted an announcement was coming soon, a congressional official said.

Biden’s choice has been expected before Thanksgiving. Current Chair Jerome Powell’s term ends in February, and Biden interviewed both he and Fed Governor Lael Brainard for the top job earlier this month.

Another official, however, said Biden’s decision might not be made as soon as Brown believed.

Powell was elevated to the chairmanship by Donald Trump. Brainard, a Democrat, has won backing from progressive elements for her stronger stance on financial regulation.

In both meetings, the candidates and president covered the gamut of economic issues and the state of the economy, a person familiar with the matter said.

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese was the only aide attending the interviews with Biden, the person said. Deese’s presence was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The person said Deese was the only aide in the room because of his good relationship with Biden and is viewed as someone who sees the appointment through both an economic and political lens.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has conveyed to White House officials that Brainard is a credible pick for Fed chair, but would still recommend Powell, according to other people familiar with the matter, a stance she conveyed to the White House over the summer. Yellen believes in the importance of continuity at the Fed and avoiding the politicization of the leadership role by replacing a chair who was nominated by a president from the opposing party, according to the people.

Yellen had earlier in the process backed retaining Powell for a second term, Bloomberg reported.

The Treasury Department and the White House declined to comment on the discussions.

Brown, who chairs the committee that will handle the first step in the confirmation process, said, “I just know what I hear from different people at the White House. I’m pretty sure it’s Powell or Brainard.”

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