Fed Chair says Trump trade fights causing economic uncertainty


After the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it was cutting interest rates for the second time in two months, President Donald Trump skewered the Fed for not being aggressive enough to help the economy, while the Fed chair said too much economic uncertainty was being created by President Trump's various trade fights.

"This is a time of difficult judgments," Fed chair Jerome Powell told reporters at a Washington news conference, as he indicated that trade gyrations involving the US, China, and other nations, is not helping with domestic economic growth.

"We do feel that trade uncertainty is having an effect," Powell told reporters. "We see it in weak business investment, weak exports."

"Trade policy is not the business of the Fed," Powell said. "It's the business of the Congress and of the Administration."

While the President has said further rate cuts would spur even more growth, the Fed continues to forecast that overall economic growth will be just over two percent this year, down from 2018.

Democrats in Congress pointed the finger of blame straight at President Trump for creating economic uncertainty, especially for farmers.

“Our family farmers need stability right now - not more uncertainty,” said Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN).  “I don’t agree with the reckless trade war we’ve created without a coherent strategy.”

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers were at odds over how to deal with President Trump's second bailout for farmers, who have been hit hard by retaliatory tariffs from China and other nations.

In a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), raised questions as to where the money was going to come from for the $28 billion in farm bailout payments announced by the President over the last two years.

"For context, that amount is larger than the entire discretionary budget Congress appropriates to USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) each fiscal year," DeLauro wrote.

While Democrats had initially threatened to block approval of that extra money, now party leaders were demanding to know where that bailout money was going.

"That lack of transparency regarding a $28 billion federal program is outrageous," DeLauro wrote.

"Maybe an accounting of who is getting the money up to this point would be a start," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), as Democrats said the GOP was resisting efforts for a public accounting of the farm bailout billions.

About the Author