Sen. Elizabeth Warren lone committee vote against Powell nomination to lead Fed

Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell testifies before the Senate Banking Committee last month on his nomination to become chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday overwhelmingly backed the nomination of Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve, in a vote that basically cements the likelihood he’ll run the central bank.

Powell was backed by all of the panel’s Republicans and Democrats except for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts.

Warren said she disagreed with Powell’s statement in his nomination hearing there was no danger of banks that are “too big to fail.”

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“I am very concerned that the Fed will systematically roll back postcrisis rules under Governor Powell’s leadership and that is a risk that our financial system cannot afford,” Warren said, before the vote.

Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, said his vote in favor of Powell in the committee did not mean he was an “automatic yes” for the nomination on the Senate floor. He said he wanted to hold another private meeting with Powell to discuss some issues raised during his testimony before the committee.

Sen. Mike Crapo, the Idaho Republican and the chairman of the banking committee, cited Powell has the experience needed to lead the U.S. central bank.

“His years of service on the [Fed] board, at Treasury, and in the private sector have equipped him with a lifetime of experience to draw upon when dealing the myriad difficult situations that the Fed could face,” Crapo said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, the ranking Democrat on the banking panel, supported Powell but said he was disappointed President Donald Trump did not reappoint Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen to a second four-year term.

Brown said it would be important for Powell to resist pressure from the Trump White House to ease rules on banks.

“I will be watching the Fed closely,” Brown said. “Americans need a strong financial watchdog that has not forgotten the lessons from the last crisis.”

Powell’s nomination now goes to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote. Members of both parties expect Powell will be confirmed to lead the U.S. central bank.

Powell could be confirmed before year-end but it could also wait until early 2018, analysts said.

Brian Gardner, director of Washington Research at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, said he expected Powell to be sworn in after Yellen’s term as chair expires in early February.

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