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Former VP Mike Pence: I would 'absolutely' replace Jerome Powell as Fed chair

Mike Pence also said the Federal Reserve should do away with its dual mandate to focus solely on inflation.

Former Vice President and Republican presidential candidate Mike Pence said he would "absolutely" look to replace Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell if he’s elected to the White House.

"We need fresh leadership at the Fed that's going to step forward and join us in an effort to really tackle the inflation that is waging war on American families," Pence told Yahoo Finance Live on Tuesday.

Pence’s criticism of Powell comes as the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hiking campaign to tame inflation has fallen short of what many forecasters initially predicted.

The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, rose 0.2% in July to an annual rate of 4.2%, well above the central bank’s 2% target.

Republican presidential candidate and former US Vice President Mike Pence.
Republican presidential candidate and former US Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Hudson Institute on Sept. 18, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Drew Angerer via Getty Images)

Pence, who served as vice president during the Trump administration when Powell was nominated to his position, said the Fed is playing "catch-up" after keeping rates low for too long. He also renewed his calls for the Fed to do away with its dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment, saying the Fed should solely focus on keeping interest rates stable and fighting inflation.

"Full employment ought to be the job of the president, of the members of Congress, of governors, and elected officials," Pence added.

Narrowing the Fed's mandate has long been a key issue for Pence, who brought the idea forward while in Congress in 2011.

And Pence is far from alone in his disapproval of Powell at the helm of the Federal Reserve. GOP rivals including former President Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have all targeted Powell while on the campaign trail, signaling a desire to replace him once his term expires.

Inflation will likely be a focal point when leading GOP contenders, minus former President Donald Trump, go head to head during the second Republican primary debate on Wednesday night.

A recent Washington Post-ABC poll released ahead of the debate showed the economy and high prices are top of mind for voters ahead of the 2024 election, with 74% of Americans saying the economy is not so good or poor.

Seana Smith is an anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Smith on Twitter @SeanaNSmith. Tips on deals, mergers, activist situations, or anything else? Email

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