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Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Monday doubled down on his comments from Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes," lamenting the unequal nature of the economic recovery the U.S. has enjoyed since 2009 in a speech to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

Between the lines: While Powell's appearance on the news magazine didn't break any new ground, his focus on matters beyond monetary policy and his efforts to communicate to people who don't closely watch financial markets is more akin to a politician than a Fed chair.

The big picture: It follows an interesting string of behavior from the chair who has put much more emphasis than any of his predecessors on boosting the Fed's reach and appeal.

  • Powell had 98 personal phone calls and meetings with Congress members last year — nearly 4 times as many as Yellen, over the same period during her first year. Powell also spent his birthday having dinner with Trump.
  • In November, Powell gave a speech at Mississippi Valley State University, a historically black university that sits outside a rural town of around 2,000 residents. He made many of the same points during that speech as he did to the NCRC on Monday.
  • Powell has scheduled press conferences after every one of the Fed's policy setting meetings, meaning he will speak to the public far more than any Fed chair in the past.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.