Fed Chair nominee Jerome Powell appears before Senate Banking Committee


Federal Reserve Chair nominee Jerome Powell testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

In his opening statements, Powell vowed he would do everything in his power to acheive the Fed’s goals of achieving maximum employment and price stability.

“I have had the great privilege of serving under Chairman Bernanke and Chair Yellen, and, like them, I will do everything in my power to achieve those goals while preserving the Federal Reserve’s independent and nonpartisan status that is so vital to their pursuit,” Powell said. “In our democracy, transparency and accountability must accompany that independence.”

“We are transparent and accountable in many ways,” he said. “Among them, we affirm our numerical inflation objective annually and publish our economic and interest rate projections quarterly.”

Powell forecasted that economic growth will slow in 2018, coming in between 2% and 2.5% next year, according to an article by The Wall Street Journal. But he also commented that as the economy grows closer to full employment, growth should be expected to slow, and could settle in around 2%.

From the article:

His forecasts on economic growth are not out of line with the Fed’s current projections. But they stand in contrast to the hopes of Republicans in Congress that the tax bill currently under consideration will significantly and quickly boost the U.S. economy.

Because of Powell’s time served at the Fed, there were no surprises during his hearing, and he pointed out many of his comments and speeches over the years are already on the record.

“As you know, I have served as a member of the Board of Governors and the Federal Open Market Committee for more than five years, contributing in a variety of capacities, including most recently as chairman of the Board’s Committee on Supervision and Regulation,” Powell said. “My views on a wide range of monetary policy and regulatory issues are on the public record in speeches and testimonies during my service at the Fed.”

After much-anticipation, Trump officially announced he selected Powell on Nov. 2. The first talks of Trump’s preference for Powell began to come out in October. But up until then, a handful of names were tossed around as options to lead the Fed, including current Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal by Kate Davidson, “Powell has been through the Senate confirmation process before, most recently in 2012 and 2014 when he was nominated to join the Fed board.”

“His nomination is expected to receive bipartisan support, though some GOP lawmakers have indicated they have concerns about his support for Fed policies under Ms. Yellen. Twenty-three Republicans and one Independent voted against his nomination in 2014,” the article stated.

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