Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sparred with House Republicans in a Wednesday hearing that showed the gulf between the central bank and the conservatives who control Capitol Hill on the state of the economy.
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sparred with House Republicans on Wednesday about the value of financial regulation and the effectiveness of monetary policy in a testy session that showed the gulf between the central bank and the conservatives who control Capitol Hill on the state of the economy.
During the House Financial Services Committee hearing, Republicans pressed Yellen to concede that the U.S. economy is broken, that the Fed has failed to fix the underlying problems, and that excessive regulation is making things worse.
Members of the committee frequently interrupted Yellen, who tends to speak slowly and at length, and showed frustration when she did not concede their points.
For the most part, she did not. Yellen acknowledged that economic growth has been “quite disappointing,” but she said the Fed’s efforts had contributed to strong job growth since the financial crisis, and she defended the value of the changes in regulation that followed it.
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Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, the committee chairman, began the contentious hearing with an indictment of what he described as the Fed’s failures.
“After eight years of the largest monetary policy stimulus in our history and the most unconventional monetary policy in our history, Americans recently received disappointing economic news yet again,” he said. “It is official: The economy grew at a measly 1.6 percent in 2016, when our historic norm is twice that.”
Yellen sought to strike a cooperative tone in her responses, emphasizing the Fed’s willingness to work with the Trump administration.