>> The Chairman of the Federal Reserve historically has been, well, reserved. But current Fed Chair Jerome Powell has put in more face time with lawmakers on Capitol Hill than his two predecessors combined, by the same point in their tenures. The extraverted approach appears to be earning him valuable allies on both sides of the aisle.
As he decides whether to continue raising interest rates, while facing a barrage of attacks from the Oval Office for doing so. Reuters' Ann Saphir covers the Fed.>> We've talked to a few of the politicians he's spoken with. And they tell us about how important they think Fed independence is, how Trump should keep his hands off the Fed.
We don't know if that comes because they spoke with Powell, but certainly, Powell's goal is to get lawmakers to understand the Fed. And he's just doing it with a lot more intensity than Fed chairs have in the past. For instance, he's met with Richard Shelby from Alabama, who in the past was a big critic of the Fed's quantitative easing and over-reach.
And when I spoke to him about the Fed, he was very supportive of what Powell is doing and what the Fed is doing. And even though he personally says he doesn't necessarily agree with more interest rate hikes, he says that Powell knows best. And I also spoke with Patrick Toomey, another Republican who said that he told Trump to stop trying to tell the Fed what to do.
Because he feels that if the fed loses that independence of being able to control the policy, that the economy will just go up in smoke.>> One of the few leaders in Washington Powell hasn't met with since becoming fed chair is President Trump himself. By this point as Fed chairs, Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke both had two meetings with the President who appointed them.
Overt public pressure from the White House is among the things forcing the Fed to acknowledge the real possibility of tapering its ongoing asset shedding operation from a more than $4 trillion balance sheet. Powell may sketch out a clearer road map for how to do that on Wednesday at the Fed's first news conference of the year.
This accumulation of goodwill can come in handy then, as the trick for Powell will be how to explain that the US Central Bank may soon slow down the trimming of its balance sheet. Without looking like he's hunkering down for a coming recession or caving to Trump.