Biden backs Powell as next Fed chief

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he plans to continue supporting Jerome Powell as the next Federal Reserve chairman.

The potential for regulation, as well as the tough decisions facing the Fed in light of Mr. Powell’s ties to Wall Street, have raised some questions over Mr. Powell’s long-term chances of winning Senate confirmation.

In a statement provided to Bloomberg, Mr. Biden said that “I’m confident the Senate will confirm Jerome Powell as the next chair of the Federal Reserve. I’m fully confident he is the right person to lead this nation’s financial institutions and their regulators through these challenging times.”

Mr. Powell told the Senate Banking Committee in a Senate confirmation hearing that he would uphold the Fed’s dual mandate of price stability and full employment, should be confirmed. But he also admitted to wanting to provide guidance on the potential impact of new financial regulations, noting that some new rules would be better implemented under a body other than the Fed.

Mr. Powell also admitted to speaking in favor of easing the Dodd-Frank financial reforms and he once spoke to Wall Street executives at the behest of former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Mr. Powell also said in his prepared testimony that the Fed would take action if needed to prevent inflation from rising. He said he had “great confidence” in the Fed’s ability to keep inflation from overheating and suggested that the Fed could raise rates a few times this year, but at a more gradual pace.

Mr. Powell noted that key inflation measures were in line with the Fed’s target and that while they could increase, there is no danger of the economy overheating.

Mr. Powell has been a Fed board member since 2012 and is President Donald Trump’s second choice to lead the central bank. Mr. Trump nominated Mr. Powell and current Fed Governor Jerome Powell in December. His predecessor, Janet Yellen, has since announced she will resign at the end of her term at the end of February.

Scott Gamm and Rolfe Winkler contributed to this article.

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