Fed chair Powell put on the spot for party at Jeff Bezos home

Business | 12 Feb 2020 4:31 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, who has made frequent visits with both House and Senate lawmakers to understand their concerns, faced sharp questioning from Democratic Representative Katie Porter, about a recent photo that showed him attending a party at the Washington home of Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon.

Porter noted that Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, were at the Bezos party at a time when Trump has exerted pressure on the Fed, an independent government agency, to lower interest rates.

Powell replied that he didn’t talk with any of those people and was mainly escorting his son and his son’s new wife to the party, where he introduced them to former Trump defense secretary James Mattis.

Porter also pressed Powell if he knew how costly child care had become.

“It costs a lot,” the chairman said. But he said he didn’t know specifically because all his children are grown.

Several lawmakers asked the chairman about how the Fed is addressing the issue of climate change. Representative Sean Casten, an Illinois Democrat, said that changing weather patterns and rising sea levels could threaten banks that have provided mortgages to homes in coastal areas.

Powell said banks should take that into account and later acknowledged that climate change could eventually influence Fed policy.

“As severe weather becomes more common — and that’s connected to climate change — you will see those things ... entering our supervisory practices as well as our economic forecasting,” he said.-AP


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