Fed board names Powell as ‘chair pro tempore’ while awaiting Senate confirmation

The US Federal Reserve Board has named Jerome Powell as “chair pro tempore”, pending his confirmation by the Senate for a second term as Chair of the central bank.

“The action, effective February 5, enables him to continue to carry out his duties as Chair after the expiration of his term on the same day, and while the confirmation process is underway,” the Fed said in a statement on Friday.

The Federal Open Market Committee, the bank’s policy-making committee, separately named Powell as its chair at its annual organisational meeting in January, Xinhua news agency reported.

Powell’s term as a Governor on the Fed board runs through 2028, the central bank said.

President Joe Biden announced in November last year that he nominated Powell for a second term as Fed Chair and the bank’s Governor Lael Brainard as Vice Chair.

But the Senate hasn’t voted on their confirmation.

Powell is expected to be confirmed with a bipartisan majority following a Senate hearing last month, according to local media.

Following a Fed policy meeting last week, the central bank signaled that it is ready to begin a series of interest-rate hikes in March to combat surging inflation as it exits from the ultra-loose monetary policy enacted at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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