NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – From her early days as Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen has been the target of criticism from Republicans worried that the central bank’s massive bond-buying programs and near-zero interest rates engineered by her predecessor would be the ruin of the country.
With little more than four months left in her term and questions swirling over whether the White House will ask her to stay on for another four years, Yellen has turned that story around.
The Fed has raised rates faster than markets had thought possible this year and, on Wednesday, it announced its $4.5 trillion bond portfolio would begin to shrink in October. All the while, unemployment has plunged to boomtime levels and inflation has remained well in check.
Now Yellen’s stock appears to be rising, both among her critics and on a real-money exchange where traders can place bets on who they think will be the next Fed chair.
“I‘m glad we are finally at this point – I have been encouraging both privately and publicly the Fed to do this. We’ll see whether it truly is an end to the era,” said U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga, a Republican who has pushed a bill to tie the central bank’s decisions to a monetary policy rule.
That Is an idea that Yellen has opposed, saying it would restrict policy options.
Still Huizenga, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee and its subcommittee on monetary policy and trade, does not appear to endorse her.
“I like her,” he told Reuters. “I would like to just make sure that the White House and president are making a thorough examination (of her record) – not just on a whim of, hey, interest rates are low …”
President Donald Trump has given few hints as to whether he will reappoint or replace Yellen before her term ends in early February. There are few signs the appointment process has moved forward at all or that it is a priority for the administration.
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