WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican and Democratic senators voiced strong support for an independent Federal Reserve during a hearing with Fed Chair Jerome Powell, one day after President Donald Trump launched another attack directed at Powell on Twitter.
“Stay independent,” Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, told Powell during Wednesday’s hearing. “I think you’re doing a great job. All of us in politics are going to give you advice, but call ‘em as you see ‘em.”
The support from members of the Senate Banking Committee suggests Trump’s attacks on Powell and the Fed have found little traction among members of his own party on Capitol Hill. Powell has made numerous visits to Senate and House members’ offices since being appointed Chair by Trump in February 2018.
Trump has called Fed officials “boneheads” and argued that the central bank should cut interest rates further. The Fed’s benchmark rate is currently in a historically low range of 1.5% to 1.75%.
Sen. Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia, said that many other government institutions are “under assault” from the Trump administration, citing White House attacks on intelligence agencies and turmoil at the Justice Department over the prosecution of Trump’s associate Roger Stone.
Warner said that if Powell were to “see any efforts made to undermine the Fed’s independence that you make us aware of that.”
“The Fed’s independence is more important than ever at this point,” Warner added.
Other senators, including Mike Rounds, Republican from South Dakota, and Democrats Jon Tester from Montana and Jack Reed from Rhode Island also expressed similar sentiments.
The comments came on the second day of Powell’s semiannual appearances before Congress. On Tuesday, he testified before the House Financial Services Committee.