During congressional testimony on Tuesday, Fed chair Jerome Powell is slated to say that ‘high inflation exacts a toll’

News & Politics

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is slated to say during a Tuesday congressional hearing that “high inflation exacts a toll,” especially on those less equipped to cover increased food, shelter and transportation expenses.

Powell’s prepared statement has been released ahead of an upcoming Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing on Powell’s nomination to serve another term as the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

President Joe Biden tapped Powell to serve a second term, but Powell was initially nominated by then-President Donald Trump in 2017 and then confirmed by the Senate in 2018.

“The economy has rapidly gained strength despite the ongoing pandemic, giving rise to persistent supply and demand imbalances and bottlenecks, and thus to elevated inflation,” Powell’s testimony reads. “We know that high inflation exacts a toll, particularly for those less able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing, and transportation. We are strongly committed to achieving our statutory goals of maximum employment and price stability. We will use our tools to support the economy and a strong labor market and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched.”

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Americans have been hit hard by rising prices over the last year.

A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics news release issued last month about the consumer price index noted that, “The all items index rose 6.8 percent for the 12 months ending November, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982.”

The government is slated to release December consumer price index data on Wednesday.

Powell’s prepared remarks also indicate that he will describe climate change as one of the “evolving threats” that he and his colleagues have sought to address over the prior four years.

“Over the past four years, my colleagues and I have continued the work of our predecessors to ensure a strong and resilient financial system. We increased capital and liquidity requirements for the largest banks—and currently, capital and liquidity levels at our largest, most systemically important banks are at multidecade highs. We worked to improve the public’s access to instant payments, intensified our focus and supervisory efforts on evolving threats such as climate change and cyberattacks, and expanded our analysis and monitoring of financial stability. We will remain vigilant about new and emerging threats,” Powell’s prepared statement declares.

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