U.S. President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he has not spoken to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, noting that the central bank is an independent agency.
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“I think the Federal Reserve is an independent operation, and from my presidency onwards I will be aware that I will not do the kind of things that have been done in the last government,”
The bite still has considerable room to make its mark on the Fed. Powell’s mandate is up next February, when Biden can choose to extend his appointment, and there is an empty seat on the Fed’s board.
Biden already pulled former President Donald Trump’s appointment of Judy Shelton to fill this seat.
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The Fed was designed to maintain some independence in setting interest rates and other important policies of politicians.
Trump openly clashed with Powell, whom he appointed, threatening to fire him several times for not keeping rates low enough. The Fed eventually lowered rates near zero percent where it has kept them as the economy weathered the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Biden has closely coordinated economic policy with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, herself a former Fed chairman and colleague of Powells. When asked about Powell, Biden mentioned that he talks to Yellen regularly.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Leslie Adler)