(WASHINGTON) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday that he wouldn’t leave even if President Donald Trump tried to fire him.
“What I’ve said is that the law clearly gives me a four-year term, and I intend to serve it,” Powell told House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Maxine Waters, who asked what he would do if the president tried to force him out.
Waters, D-Calif., responded saying, “I can’t hear you” as the committee hearing room erupted in laughter.
President Trump in an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos last month said of Powell, “he’s my pick and I disagree with him entirely.”
“If we had a Fed that would lower interest rates, we’d be like a rocket ship,” Trump said last week. “But we don’t have a Fed that knows what they’re doing.”
Trump’s repeated public criticism of the politically independent Federal Reserve Board has put its chairman in an uncomfortable position, as Trump has pressured the board to cut interest rates.
A cut in interest rates is normally done during an economic downturn, and is intended to make it easier for consumers and businesses to borrow money.
The Federal Reserve, however, until now has been reluctant to reduce interest rates due to the relative strength of the U.S. economy, in addition to consistently low unemployment rate hovering around 3 percent.
Powell told the committee that an uncertainty in trade relations between the world’s two biggest economies – the United Stated and China—may signal a soon coming interest rate reduction.
“Apparent progress on trade turned to greater uncertainty, and our contacts in business and agriculture report heightened concerns over trade developments, ” he said.
Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.