Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell will brief House Democrats on the economy next week at their annual policy retreat — an unusual appearance by a Republican appointee before a group that has aggressively challenged President Trump during its three-month majority.
Powell, appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate last year, will appear at the behest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who are focusing the April 10-12 retreat on economic issues.
“We obviously have an important role to play as it relates to fiscal policy. He has a tremendously important role to play as it relates to monetary policy which will be essential to the future of our country, and members are excited to hear from him,” Jeffries told reporters Tuesday.
Powell has come under fire from Trump for raising interest rates four times last year. The president has complained that the higher rates jeopardize the economy’s expansion. Last year, Trump asked advisers whether he has the power to fire Powell, two people familiar with the exchanges told The Washington Post.
That prompted Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) to come to Powell’s defense, saying he is “doing a good job” and rejecting the notion that Trump could fire him out of frustration over the stock market.
Other guests announced Tuesday include the husband-and-wife team of singer John Legend and model/author Chrissy Teigen — both outspoken Democrats — as well as comedian Jordan Klepper, who previous hosted a Comedy Central parody of right-wing news programs and is set to debut a new talk show on the network later this year. Also appearing are Kara Swisher, editor of the technology-focused news website Recode, as well as the heads of several labor unions.
The Democratic retreat, set to be held in Leesburg, Va., was rescheduled from its original mid-February date because of the lengthy government shutdown. It now falls just as Democrats reach the 100-day mark for their majority.