Feb 12, 2020 - Economy & Business

Fed picks to raise political independence at confirmation hearings

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's picks to fill the Federal Reserve board, Christopher Waller and Judy Shelton, will publicly air views on the Fed's political independence in a Senate hearing on Thursday, according to released drafts of testimony.

Why it matters: Trump's nominees, particularly Shelton, an economist who has been critical of the Fed and previously served as an adviser to Trump's campaign, will face questions about their commitment to the Fed's nonpolitical economic decisions.

  • Trump has repeatedly tried to goad the Fed into lowering interest rates — flouting the tradition of the executive branch staying out of conversations about monetary policy.

What they're saying: Shelton will acknowledge the central bank's independence, while Waller, a long-time official at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, will give a bolder defense of a nonpolitical Fed.

  • Waller will reference his research "on the importance of central bank independence for the conduct of monetary policy."
  • Shelton will testify that along with the political independence "granted to the Federal Reserve comes an obligation to be wholly accountable both to Congress and to the public."

The backdrop: Shelton has "questioned the basis of the Fed's independence from the White House," as the New York Times puts it, and has advocated for a return to the gold standard.

  • Waller, a close adviser to dovish Fed member James Bullard, is considered a more traditional pick for the Fed.

What's next: Waller and Shelton will face questions from the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday morning.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,929,312 — Total deaths: 357,781 — Total recoveries — 2,385,926Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,709,996 — Total deaths: 101,002 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Business: Louisiana senator says young people are key to reopening the economy —U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter, round two

President Trump is escalating his response to Twitter’s fact check of his recent tweets about mail-in voting, issuing an executive order that's designed to begin limiting social media's liability protections. Dan digs in with Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.

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