By UPI |

Fed chief Jerome Powell testifies in Congress on state of U.S. economy

July 10 (UPI) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is set Wednesday to begin two days of testimony in Congress on monetary policy and the state of the U.S. economy.

Powell will testify before the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m. EDT Wednesday and the Senate banking committee Thursday.

The semiannual testimony -- once in February and once in July -- is required under the Federal Reserve Act, which directs the Fed's chairman to inform Congress of how it is handling monetary policy as well as any observations on economic developments.

Last week, the domestic economy entered its longest period of growth on record -- 121 months since the last recession.

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Wednesday's testimony comes as Powell and the Fed face harsh criticism from President Donald Trump, who last weekend called the agency "our most difficult problem."

Trump, who's floated the idea of removing Powell as Fed chairman, said last week the U.S. economy could be like a "rocket ship" if the board would lower interest rates. At its meeting last month, the Fed voted to leave rates unchanged. The board increased interest rates four times in 2018 but hasn't touched them so far this year.

Powell suggested last month the Fed could cut rates at its next policy meeting July 30, but experts feel a June jobs report that showed better-than-expected growth makes that less likely.

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If the extra jobs affect Powell's outlook on rate action, he would likely provide Congress an explanation why any potential cut would be pushed back, possibly to the Fed's policy meeting in September.

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