Powell May Need Senate Friends More Than Ever to Fend Off Trump

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump hasn’t been shy about his disappointment in Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s interest-rate hikes.

The president is even discussing firing his hand-picked Fed chief, Bloomberg News reported late Friday night in Washington.

While it’s fuzzy whether that’s even possible legally, one thing is clear in the Federal Reserve Act: Senators must confirm Powell’s replacement, making Congress a key actor in the unfolding drama.

Powell May Need Senate Friends More Than Ever to Fend Off Trump

According to a calendar of his meetings, Powell has been shoring up bipartisan relationships.

Since his confirmation in February, Powell has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill, which Fed officials typically do to explain Fed policy to lawmakers and stress the importance of central-bank independence. Powell has held 37 meetings and phone calls with senators since becoming Fed chief in February, based on his calendars through October. That effort has intensified in recent months: 25 of the meetings came in August, September or October.

Powell has met with Sherrod Brown -- the ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees the Fed -- five times. He’s met with Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo, a Republican, four times.

He’s chatted with Republicans Bob Corker, Roy Blunt, Jerry Moran, Mike Rounds and Tim Scott twice each. And since February he’s met individually with every Republican banking panel member except Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, calendars show.

Below is a timeline of Powell’s meetings and phone calls:

2/21/18Mike Crapo (ID), R
2/21/18Sherrod Brown (OH), D
3/8/18Jeanne Shaheen (NH), D
3/22/18Orrin Hatch (UT), R
5/22/18Mike Crapo (ID), R
5/23/18Sherrod Brown (OH), D
6/28/18Heidi Heitkamp (ND), D
7/9/18Sherrod Brown (OH), D
7/11/18Cory Gardner (CO), R
7/12/18Mike Crapo (ID), R
7/13/18Roy Blunt (MO), R
7/19/18Ron Wyden (OR), D
8/2/18Chuck Schumer (NY), D
8/2/18Elizabeth Warren (MA), D
8/2/18Rob Portman (OH), R
8/3/18Roy Blunt (MO), R
8/15/18Sherrod Brown (OH), D
8/15/18Bob Corker (TN), R 
8/15/18Jerry Moran (KS), R
8/15/18Ben Sasse (NE), R 
8/16/18Tim Scott (SC), R
8/16/18Mark Warner (VA), D
8/16/18Mike Crapo (ID), R
9/19/18Richard Shelby (AL), R 
9/19/18Jack Reed (RI), D
9/20/18David Perdue (GA), R
9/21/18Mike Rounds (SD), R 
9/25/18Dean Heller (NV), R
9/26/18Tom Cotton (AR), R
9/27/18Tim Scott (SC), R
9/27/18Martin Heinrich (NM), D
10/3/18Bob Corker (TN), R
10/3/18Jerry Moran (KS), R
10/4/18John Kennedy (LA), R
10/4/18 Mike Rounds (SD), R 
10/17/18Chris Coons (DE), D
10/31/18Sherrod Brown (OH), D

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.