Apr 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden says he hasn't spoken with Fed chair Powell

President Biden speaking in the White House on April 6.
President Biden speaking in the White House today. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden said Tuesday he has not spoken with Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, saying he's "not going to do the kinds of things that have been done in the last administration."

Why it matters: It's an indicator that Biden will respect the independence of the Fed by not publicly commenting on its decisions, and it's a shift from the Trump administration.

Context: The Federal Reserve is designed to operate free of politics, though former President Trump throughout his term repeatedly and publicly criticized Powell, who he picked, Axios' Dan Primack reports.

  • Trump's open criticism of the Fed was unprecedented and raised concerns that Fed politicization would become the new norm.

What he's saying: "I think the Federal Reserve is an independent operation," Biden said.

  • "And starting off my presidency, I want to be real clear that I'm not going to do the kinds of things that have been done in the last administration — either talking to the attorney general about who he’s going to prosecute or not prosecute and under what circumstances, or the Fed, telling them what they should and shouldn't do."
  • "Even though that wouldn't be the basis upon which I’d be talking to them. So I have been very fastidious about not talking to them, but I do talk to the secretary of Treasury.”
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