© Bloomberg. Lael Brainard Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) — Senator Elizabeth Warren praised Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard on Wednesday for her approach to financial regulation while criticizing Chairman Jerome Powell as too protective of big financial institutions.
“My concern is that over and over he has weakened the regulation here,” she said of Powell on Bloomberg TV’s “Balance of Power with David Westin.” “We need someone who understands and uses the monetary policy tools and the regulatory tools to keep our economy safe. Let’s not forget what happened in 2008.”
The Massachusetts Democrat is a member of the Banking Committee and a key voice in discussions ahead of a decision by President Joe Biden on who should lead the nation’s central bank. Powell’s term ends in February.
While stopping shy of endorsing Brainard for the top job, she touted her many dissents to Fed moves to loosen regulations.
“I read Lael Brainard’s dissents in many of the deregulatory actions the Fed has taken, and I have to say they are strong and powerful dissents,” Warren said. “She makes a good case for why it is the job of the Federal Reserve to be that cop on that beat, and to make sure the largest financial institutions are not putting our economy at greater risk.”
Some White House aides are eyeing Brainard as a possible chairman who — while remaining independent — already fully backs Biden’s economic agenda, though Powell still enjoys broad support within the administration, according to people familiar with the matter.
No decision is expected before September at the earliest.
Warren reiterated her focus on the top job at the Federal Reserve, rather than just other jobs like vice chair, which some have speculated could be the landing spot for Brainard if Biden nominates Powell for another term.
“The problem is the chair of the Federal Reserve is where the power is concentrated,” she said. “It is the chair who decides what policies go forward. It is the chair who decides when to call a vote.”
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