Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, before the House Financial Services Committee hearing. Yellen said Tuesday that if the economy keeps improving, the Fed will take “further measured steps” to reduce the support it’s providing through monthly bond purchases. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Janet Yellen pursued a simple strategy Tuesday for handling a battery of lawmakers who came armed with skepticism about the Federal Reserve.
Politely stand your ground. Be consistent. Signal continuity at the top.
In her first public words since becoming Fed chair this month, Yellen struck a note of unity with her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, who stepped down last month. She embraced his dual outlook on the economy: It’s strengthening enough for the Fed to slightly pull back its stimulus yet still needs the help of low interest rates.
When her questioners turned aggressive, Yellen stoutly defended the Fed’s approach to the 2008 financial crisis and the recession. She rebuffed suggestions that its stimulus efforts were ill-conceived or that stricter financial rules were squelching growth.
At times, she basked in good wishes from members of the House Financial Services Committee, to which she was delivering the Fed’s twice-a-year report to Congress. Several female members offered warm congratulations to the first woman to lead the Fed in its 100 years.
“I’ve understood more of what you’ve said today than the last two (Fed leaders),” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
Fed leaders can make unusual witnesses at Washington hearings. Unlike many government officials, they Login to read more