White House offers muted backing for Fed Chair Powell amid fierce criticism from Warren


Biden Fed pick pits Jerome Powell against progressive wing

Bianco Research president Jim Bianco discusses if the president has confidence in the Fed chairman on ‘Making Money with Charles Payne’

The White House expressed restrained support for Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday, the same day Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., ripped Powell in a scathing floor speech amid widening ethics concerns at the central bank.

President Biden addressed whether he still has confidence in Powell and the Fed’s integrity while speaking with reporters following an event in Michigan. Powell’s leadership has faced intense criticism in recent days amid scrutiny of personal trading activity by top central bank officials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Well, thus far, yes, but I’m just catching up on some of these assertions," Biden said in response.


White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made a similar remark when asked about Biden’s view on Powell earlier in the day.

"He does have confidence in Powell at this time," Jean-Pierre said.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren each stepped down last week after financial disclosures revealed they made personal stock and real estate transactions in 2020 while helping to set Fed policies during the pandemic. The disclosures prompted Powell to call for a review of the Fed’s ethics rules.

Separately, Fed vice chair Richard Clarida has faced scrutiny following revelations he made trades valued between $1 million and $5 million last February, one day before Powell announced a potential shift in Fed policy due to the pandemic.

Warren, a staunch critic of Powell, said Tuesday that the revelations proved he had "failed as a leader." She delivered the scathing floor speech just days after calling Powell a "dangerous man" and vowing to oppose his re-nomination as chair. 

"Our nation does not need a go-along-to-get-along leader who doesn’t know or doesn’t care when, on his watch, people with great responsibility advance their own interests over those of our nation, or someone who drags his feet in dealing with problems that shake the public’s confidence in the institution he leads," Warren said.


Warren has called on the SEC to investigate all three officials over the transactions to assess potential ethics violations.

Biden has yet to say whether he intends to nominate Powell for another term, though his decision is expected within days. Powell’s term expires in early 2022.

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