Merkley: We Need a Fed Chair Who is Prepared to Take Climate Change Head-On, Stand Up Against Wall Street

WASHINGTON, DC – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after voting against the nomination of Jerome Powell to a second term as chair of the Federal Reserve: 

“The Federal Reserve holds an important responsibility to safeguard our financial system and seize opportunities to build a stronger economic future. Jerome Powell failed to earn my vote for a second term as Federal Reserve Chair because he’s failed to take climate change seriously as an economic threat or to ensure giant financial institutions are not loading up on risk. 

“Climate change is an urgent and systemic economic threat. Tackling climate change requires all levels of government, from the local-level to the highest levels of the federal and international governments. During his tenure, Chair Powell resisted calls for the Fed to use its tools and during a hearing this year he said, ‘we are not and we don’t seek to be climate policymakers.’ This is not good enough. We need a Fed Chair who understands the risks that climate chaos poses to our economy and who is prepared to take this head-on by giving regulators the tools they need to ensure we have a strong economic future.

“I’m also disturbed that under Chairman Powell, the Federal Reserve weakened guardrails that were supposed to protect Americans from the Wall Street Casino, including weakening the Volcker Rule. I wrote the Volcker Rule to prevent banks from engaging in the highest-risk investments that brought about the 2008 economic crash. 

“Our economy has been through some big transitions in the last 15 years that have bolstered the wealthy but battered most Americans. We are continuing to face new and evolving economic challenges American families can’t afford another pummeling. We need a chair who we can count on to prioritize an economy that serves the American people now and into the future, not one designed simply to enrich big investors and corporate executives.”