Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will meet with Democratic lawmakers at their annual policy retreat Thursday night as the central bank faces renewed political pressure coming from the Trump White House.
Democrats invited Powell to the meeting as part of an effort to focus their agenda on kitchen table issues such as the economy along with health care, rather than investigations along with court battles.
nevertheless top lawmakers also said they are growing increasingly worried about the politicization of the Fed, coming from President Donald Trump’s criticism of the chairman to his intended nominees for the central bank’s board of governors.
“I personally am very concerned about the independence of the Federal Reserve generally along with the independence of its members specifically,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
In interviews, several Democratic lawmakers said they are looking to Powell for guidance on the strength of the job market along with the direction of the economy. different topics they wish to cover include income inequality, trade tensions along with the impact of the GOP tax cuts.
“I know the economy can be working well for lots of people, nevertheless for many people in my district, in which can be not working well,” said Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala. “I just want to hear coming from him as to why we see in which variation.”
nevertheless Democrats also pointed to Trump’s plans to nominate conservative commentator Stephen Moore along with former Republican presidential candidate along with businessman Hermain Cain to the Fed’s board as signs of potential cracks inside central bank’s independence. Rep. Gregory Meeks of brand-new York said he can be seeking reassurance in which Powell can withstand the onslaught of criticism coming coming from the Oval Office.
“I want to know coming from him whether he’s definitely feeling the pressure coming from the administration in regards to the interest rates,” he said. “can be he free to do what he thinks can be an appropriate thing in an independent manner?”
Trump has lashed out at the Fed for raising its benchmark interest rate last year along with has repeatedly cast the central bank as a potential impediment to economic growth. His nominees have also questioned the need for rate hikes, along with Moore has even called for an immediate rate cut of half of a percentage point.
The Fed declined to comment just for in which story. nevertheless previous Fed chairmen have met privately with the Democratic along with Republican caucuses, though none has attended the parties’ policy retreats. Most recently, Powell spoke to about 50 GOP lawmakers at the invitation of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La..
Because Congress created the central bank more than a century ago, the Fed’s independence ultimately depends on lawmakers’ confidence in its leaders, said David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center for Fiscal along with Monetary Policy.
“Any Fed chair might avoid the appearance of partisanship along with should accept invitations coming from both Democrats along with Republicans, as I believe Mr. Powell has done,” Wessel said. “These days, in which seems to be hard for Democrats along with Republicans to have civil conversations inside same room, so the Fed may need to see them separately.”
Powell has worked assiduously to cultivate relationships on Capitol HIll on both sides of the aisle, packing in as many as six meetings in one day. He was spotted inside basement of the Senate one evening, shortly after Trump announced he planned to nominate Moore as a Fed governor.
His cameo at the retreat can be not considered an official appearance: in which can be not on the Fed’s schedule of public events, along with no text or video of his comments will be released. Instead, in which can be being treated as an informal discussion with lawmakers. different high-profile speakers at the retreat include celebrity couple John Legend along with Chrissy Teigen along with Kaiser Permanente Chief Executive Bernard Tyson.
“I’m a supporter of Powell along with the independence of the Fed,” said Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, chairman of the Ways along with Means Committee. “I think he’s been a mainstream Fed chairman, along with I think the idea there ought to be a Democratic Fed or a Republican Fed can be bad policy.”