Shelby defends independence of Federal Reserve
In an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) defended the independence of the Federal Reserve, which he called “the bedrock of our financial system.” Shelby also praised the economy as possibly the best he has seen in his lifetime.
Host Margaret Brennan asked Shelby, a longtime member and former chair of the Senate Banking Committee, about recent controversial comments made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump regarding the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell. She specifically asked the senator whether these comments should cause concern for Wall Street.
“Well, we’re all concerned about the economy. The economy’s been very good. It’s probably the best economy I’ve seen in years and years, if not my lifetime,” Shelby said.
He continued, “But the Federal Reserve is the backbone, is the bedrock of our financial system. It’s set up to be independent. I don’t believe blaming the Federal Reserve for this or that, whoever the president or a congressman or senator is, helps matters.”
Alabama’s senior senator then reaffirmed his support of Powell, advising that Trump cannot fire him just because he disagrees with some of the Federal Reserve’s recent interest hikes.
“The president cannot fire the chairman of the Federal Reserve except for cause. I think Chairman Powell, myself, is doing a good job,” Shelby concluded.
These comments came amid the financial markets’ recent volatility, for which Trump has repeatedly pointed blame at Powell on Twitter.
The Washington Post has reported that the president even asked advisers whether he has the power to fire Powell, who just became chair in February after being so nominated by Trump.
Earlier in December, Shelby said Trump needs to be “very careful” in how he approaches the Federal Reserve.
“Although I disagree with Powell at times, I’ve been on the Banking Committee longer than most people ever have, and I chaired it. I think the Federal Reserve should remain independent, as much as it can,” Shelby told Politico.
In the “Face the Nation” interview on Sunday, Shelby also advised that the government shutdown made lawmakers look “silly” and that leaders on both sides of the aisle need to “move away from the blame game” in order to find a resolution. Additionally, he reaffirmed his support for securing the nation’s borders.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn