Senate Confirms Waller; Powell and Mnuchin Update Congress

The Senate confirmed Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board on Thursday on a party-line vote, except for Rand Paul (R-KY) who dissented. Mr. Waller is the less controversial and visible Trump nominee, when compared with Judy Shelton and Herman Cain. Ms. Shelton’s nomination still is very unlikely to be taken up since the GOP majority has gotten thinner with recent the swearing in of the new Democratic Senator from AZ, Mark Kelley. Mr. Waller was Head of Research at the St. Louis Fed.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made their rounds on Capitol Hill this week, first going before the Senate Banking Committee and next to the House Financial Services Committee, to give Congress an update on the CARES Act. The hearings were particularly contentious for Mr. Mnuchin who was the target of attacks from the Democratic side of the aisle over his termination of several Fed emergency lending programs on December 31st. The GOP praised the move as fiscally prudent. Mr. Powell mostly tried to stay above the fray, saying only he would have preferred to have the funds at his disposal while repeatedly chiding fiscal authorities for not coming to agreement on more stimulus. He also stressed the importance of preventing the coming layoffs, a million of which have already occurred, that will be required by law in states who have lost significant tax revenue. He mentioned states that are reliant on tourism as particularly vulnerable.

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