Senate confirms Lael Brainard as Fed vice chair
U.S. Federal Reserve board member Lael Brainard speaks after she was nominated by U.S. President Joe Biden to serve as vice chair of the Federal Reserve, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 22, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Although the result was close at 52 to 43, it wasn’t surprising that she was confirmed. Brainard was supported by Democrats as well as a few Republicans including Sen. Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming.
Both Sens. made the vote more tight than anticipated. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), both tested positive for Covid-19. They were not able to support the legislation in their official capacity.
Brainard’s promotion is expected to last for several weeks and it is unlikely that this will change. Fed’s plan to increase short-term interest rates. For many years she served as a board member at the central banking institution. Powell, Brainard and the other officials of the central bank have pledged over recent months to raise interest rates or pull back on monetary stimuli to keep prices from increasing at current levels.
Financial markets are on edge due to the rapid rise in inflation and uncertainty over Fed plans to increase borrowing costs. The S&P 500, the broad market index that tracks the equity performance of the largest U.S. companies, has fallen more than 11% this year.
Steven Ricchiuto from Mizuho Securities USA wrote Tuesday that policymakers had “decided to get out ahead of the increase in inflation so they can correct the situation.”
Investors need to ask the question: “When will enough be enough? He added.
Brainard is known for her opposition to any Fed motions to repeal financial regulations. She has opposed several steps taken by the Fed to relax laws after 2008-2009’s financial crisis.
No Fed Governor had dissented from 2011 to 2018, until her objection.
Senator Joe Biden has nominated several other Fed nominees. They are still awaiting Senate action. Powell has been nominated by the president to serve a second term at the central bank. Two economists Lisa Cook, and Philip Jefferson have been appointed to be governors of the Fed’s seven member board.
Some economists and analysts think Jefferson and Cook would prefer a more gradual rate increase over time. However, both Senators confirmed that they intend to keep inflation under control by using interest rates.
Although the Fed wants to maintain inflation at 2%, disruptions in supply chains, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and strong consumer demand are all contributing factors. prices up more than 8% over the last 12 months.
Later Tuesday afternoon, a procedural vote will be held on Cook’s nomination. This would enable Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to close the debate and allow her to receive a final confirmation vote.