Powell declined to discuss the president, according to the people, a comment that was greeted by applause.
Economists and critics have expressed concerns about loyalists of Republican Trump serving on the traditionally nonpartisan central bank.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday withheld comment on whether he would support Herman Cain to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, saying that he would wait to see "who is actually nominated".
"It's all just sort of a vague memory right now, but it's hard not to hear "Herman Cain" in the context of something like this and not immediately recall some of those challenges", the North Dakota Republican said on Tuesday.
A former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, cain, ran for the 2012 Republican nomination but fell out after allegations of adultery and sexual harassment.
Powell was Trump's choice to lead the Fed, but the president has been critical of him for raising interest rates.
British PM's early arrival in Berlin sees her walk the carpet alone
On Tuesday, members of parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve the extension request, with 420 votes in favour to 110 against. May has lost the support of her Conservative party, which is split over how to exit the EU.
Larry Kudlow, White House economic council director, told ABC News that the president is sticking by his plans for now. "Herman is a great guy and I hope he does well".
But he stressed that the White House needs to consider two factors in its nominations: the individual's background check, as well as his or her prospects of getting confirmed in the Senate. But he said earlier this week that he didn't know how Cain was faring in the vetting process and that Cain "will make that determination" whether to continue. Cain, 73, has called the allegations unfounded.
"Several of our members have had strong feelings about people who've been mentioned in newspaper articles", McConnell said in a pen-and-pad briefing with reporters. "It's about who I think should be on the board", the senator explained. "On a daily basis". President Trump had announced his plan to nominate Cain, but that decision was met with criticism that the nomination was politically motivated due to Cain's support of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and administration. Last week he tweeted his intention to name the former presidential hopeful, who heads a political action committee supporting Trump's agenda.
Recently, America Fighting Back criticized the 12 GOP senators who voted to reject the president's national emergency declaration to begin border wall construction.
One GOP senator, speaking anonymously to describe Senate Republicans' sentiment toward Cain, surmised that those dozen senators would not be eager to vote for Cain after those attacks.
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