Senator Menendez pressures Fed Chair Jerome Powell over diversity among bank governors, is criticized on Twitter

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Senator Bob Menendez, DN.J., was mocked Wednesday for setting diversity quotas and blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for inflation while questioning Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell during a Senate banking hearing.

Menendez prioritized his time allotted to questioning Powell about why the Federal Reserve Bank has lacked Hispanic presidents over the years and berated him for his plan to fight inflation, which the senator heavily attributed to Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The Democratic lawmaker opened his questioning during the hearing by saying “I want to start with the Fed’s diversity issue.” Menendez asked Powell to respond to a letter signed by him and other U.S. senators asking the Fed chairman to agree to “reforms in the selection process for Class V bank presidents and directors” so that banks have “Fed leadership.” that really represents the audience. “

Powell agreed to respond to the letter.


Senator Bob Menendez, DN.J. asks Fed Chair Jerome Powell about diversity at the Federal Reserve.

Menendez then asked the chairman, “And will you also commit to working with me to implement real and meaningful process changes so that we can have a wider range of voices for Fed leadership?”

The Fed chairman pledged to “have a frank discussion with [Menendez] about this” and urged that “we have made big strides” in terms of “diversity” for some categories of reserve bank leaders. The A directors, as you point out in your letter, less. But those are appointed by the district bankers. But we can have this conversation.”

Menendez was not satisfied with this report. He pressed Powell, stating “‘Less’ but it’s not – it’s worse than ‘less’. You don’t have a bank president in the history of the Federal Reserve who was Hispanic.

Powell backed off, clarifying that he was talking about “directors” rather than bank presidents, but the senator continued to pursue him relentlessly.

“There’s tremendous opportunity, and it hasn’t happened. I just keep, you know, I feel like I’m the only effort at it,” the senator stated, he then declared, “but 62 million Hispanic Americans that represent two trillion dollars of domestic purchasing power deserve a seat where some of the most important economic decisions are being made.”

He added, “We’re looking forward to the compromise you’ve said you’re willing to get involved in.”


Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell answers questions during Wednesday's Senate banking hearing

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell answers questions during Wednesday’s Senate banking hearing

Menendez later insisted that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a major driver of inflation and asked Powell how the Fed’s plan to raise interest rates would do anything to combat it. He stated, “I think you said here today that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the supply chain issues related to the pandemic are perhaps – and the energy issues that fluctuate from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – are perhaps some of the biggest factors in driving inflation.”

He then asked, “But the question is, how is rising interest rates on the underlying causes of today’s inflation going to change that? Energy is still energy. Supply chain is still supply chain. Ukraine’s invasion of Russia is an ongoing challenge for the world. But there’s nothing about interest rates that has had an effect on that.”

Powell insisted that there are areas of the economy where “we can moderate demand and allow time for supply to recover, so that supply and demand get back into a better balance than inflation.”

Federalist contributing writer and founder of the online video database, Tom Elliott, dismissed Menendez’s lines of questioning as irrelevant.


Inflation hit a record 8.6% in May

Inflation hit a record 8.6% in May

He tweeted: “Sen. @SenatorMenendez currently using his time with Jerome Powell to challenge the Fed’s commitment to racial diversity: ‘You don’t have a bank president in Federal Reserve history who is Hispanic’.”

“Now Menendez is [tsk-tsking] Powell for raising interest rates due to his belief that it is Putin’s fault that prices are rising, so higher rates will only hurt Americans. Such dangerous stupidity should certainly be criminalized,” he added.

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