Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the central bank has the ability to be “patient” in determining when to hike interest rates. (Jan. 10) AP
LEESBURG, Va. – Congressional Democrats who routinely bemoan President Donald Trump’s senior-level appointees said his candidates for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors – Stephen Moore and Herman Cain – were the worst yet.
“It’s not clear to me whether that’s reality or a Saturday Night Live skit,” New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said Thursday. “It’s an embarrassment. The likelihood is they will be withdrawn because even Republicans are aghast at the fact that you could nominate singularly unqualified individuals such as Herman Cain.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s nomination of Moore – a former adviser to the president’s campaign who has fiercely criticized the Fed – and Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and 2012 presidential candidate, was another sign of the “dismantling” of institutions the administration is undertaking.
“There’s a measure that has to be taken for how any president of the United States and, in this case the current one, honors his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and all that that implies. And this Fed is just another example.”
Pelosi and Jeffries spoke to reporters Thursday morning at the House Democrats’ retreat at Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, Virginia where Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell will be among those speaking to the caucus. Trump has frequently criticized Powell, say he has kept interest rates too high.
Pelosi and Jeffries defended the decision to invite the chairman of the Fed, an independent agency, to speak at the Democratic retreat.
“The single most important thing that members of Congress do is to ensure the economic well-being of the American people,” Jeffries said. “We thought that it was a great opportunity for us to hear from Jerome Powell and to give the members an opportunity to exchange ideas, ask questions and have a back and forth dialogue.”
The U.S. central bank raises interest rates to cool down a hot economy and cuts them to stimulate a sluggish one. The rates affect how much it costs to use a credit card, sign a car loan or buy a home.
Moore, an early Trump supporter who argued the president deserved a Nobel Prize in economics, has also frequently criticized the Fed’s approach under Powell.
“The only problem our economy has is the Fed,” Trump tweeted in December. “They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!”
Contributing: John Fritze
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