Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during congressional testimony on Wednesday that he would not comply if President Trump were to fire him. House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) asked Powell what he would do if President Trump suddenly called him up and fired him, to which the Fed chair responded: “Of course, I would not do that.” “I can’t hear you,” Waters retorted, resulting in laughter by members at the hearing from both sides of the aisle. “The answer would be, ‘No,’” he responded. The exchange illustrated Powell’s assurance that the Fed is independent from political pressure, despite Trump’s repeated remarks that he is “not happy” with Powell’s performance, and reports that he has threatened to fire him.
Trump wants Powell to cut interest rates to boost the economy. Powell told lawmakers on Monday that the Fed is still concerned that the administration’s evolving international trade policies could hamper the U.S. economy. The Fed is reportedly weighing the right time to cut rates amid concerns over Trump’s trade policies. At the last interest-rate meeting in June, the Fed held rates steady but alluded to two potential cuts later this year.