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August 31, 2021

Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, García, Jones Urge Biden to Replace Powell as Federal Reserve Chair

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), member of the House Financial Services Committee, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), and Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY-17) issued the following statement urging President Biden to appoint a new Federal Reserve Chair rather than reappoint Jerome Powell.

“As news of the possible reappointment of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell circulates, we urge President Biden to re-imagine a Federal Reserve focused on eliminating climate risk and advancing racial and economic justice. This consequential appointment has the potential to remake the composition of the Board of Governors.

“While the Federal Reserve has made positive changes to its approach to full employment reflected in the new monetary policy framework, our concerns with Chair Powell’s track record are two-fold. Under his leadership the Federal Reserve has taken very little action to mitigate the risk climate change poses to our financial system. To illustrate, the Federal Reserve received a D- rating for its approach to climate risk policies from Positive Money’s Global Central Bank Scorecard, placing it at the bottom of the G20 Central Banks. At a time when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is warning of the potential catastrophic and irreversible damage inflicted by a changing climate, we need a leader at the helm that will take bold and decisive action to eliminate climate risk. Secondly, under Chair Powell the Federal Reserve has substantially weakened many of the reforms enacted in the wake of the Great Recession regulating the largest banks, including capital and liquidity requirements, stress tests, the Volcker Rule, and living will requirements. During the 2008-financial crisis, millions of Americans lost their homes and jobs, and many have failed to fully recover. Weakening financial regulations that were specifically created to prevent such a disaster from happening again, risks the livelihoods of Americans across the country.

“To move forward with a whole of government approach that eliminates climate risk while making our financial system safer, we need a Chair who is committed to these objectives. We urge the Biden Administration to use this opportunity to appoint a new Federal Reserve Chair.”

Earlier this year, Rep. Pressley reintroduced the Greater Supervision in Banking Act, her sweeping legislation to strengthen Congressional oversight of the 8 U.S.-based Globally Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs), which includes JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, State Street, and Bank of New York Mellon. Collectively, the banks hold nearly half of all domestic banking assets. Rep. Pressley discussed the legislation, at a House Financial Services Committee hearing, where she questioned Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan about the need for banks to publicly disclose information that is critical to consumers and Congressional oversight. The bill passed out of the Financial Services Committee in June.

Congresswoman Pressley, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has been a vocal advocate for consumer protections and ensuring that the U.S. banking system works for everyday Americans. In April 2019, she questioned G-SIB CEOs about discriminatory lending practices during their first appearance before Congress in over a decade. She has also introduced the Payment Modernization Act – legislation requiring a more reasonable timeline for the Federal Reserve’s faster payments system and prioritizing consumer protection and wellbeing in the development process. 

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