U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan voted against the confirmation of Jerome Powell to serve a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. The Senate voted 80-19 to confirm Powell, who has been acting chairman of the Fed since February, after being originally nominated and confirmed under President Donald Trump.
The vote was 80-19, with a mix of both liberals and conservatives voting no, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted in favor of the confirmation and has released no statement. But Sullivan said he is concerned the Federal Reserve has not acted to tamp down inflation that is hurting Alaskans more each day. And the Fed is not doing enough to support the energy sector, driving capital to other countries, where energy production is environmentally unsound.
“The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate from Congress: maintaining price stability while keeping unemployment low. During Chairman Powell’s first term as chair, the Fed has failed dramatically on the first. There are many reasons for this, but one clear cause is the Fed’s decision to take its eye off the ball of these statutory mandates required by Congress,” Sullivan said.
“The citizens of Alaska who I represent are hurting badly from high inflation. They are also well aware of the federal government’s and federal regulators’ attempts to choke off capital to energy producers in Alaska and other states by shoehorning climate policies into areas that are inconsistent with statutory mandates from Congress. A number of Biden administration finance nominees have been focused on doing this—both those who have been confirmed and rejected by the Senate—including nominees to the Fed, the SEC, the Treasury, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency,” Sullivan continued.
“Having the Fed and other finance-related agencies focusing on choking off capital formation to the U.S. energy sector drives up energy prices in America while undermining our nation’s energy security and national security. It also undermines environmental stewardship, because these policies drive energy capital investment away from America—the country with the world’s highest environmental standards on energy development—and toward countries with much lower environmental standards. And, again, there is no statutory mandate from Congress for the Fed, the SEC, or the Comptroller of the Currency to do this.”
“During his first term, Chairman Powell has gone along with this non-statutory focus while playing catch-up with the Fed’s most important mission, which is price stability. The American people are paying dearly for these mistakes.
“As the American energy sector has a harder time obtaining capital—particularly the middle- and smaller-sized energy companies that employ thousands of my constituents—energy-producing states, like Alaska, are disproportionately feeling the negative impacts, both in terms of stagnant employment and fewer economic opportunities. These are very important issues for the people I represent as more and more financial institutions declare they will not finance energy projects in America’s Arctic—which is Alaska. The negative consequences of these actions by federal officials for my constituents are real.”
Sen. Sullivan said that now that Powell has secured a second term, Sullivan hopes he offers a “full-throated rejection of this Federal Reserve mission creep and climate dalliance, which is not part of the Fed’s mandate, and instead focuses like a laser on the primary problem in America today—spiking inflation everywhere.”