Chamber president defends Fed from GOP fire

Donohue responded to a question about efforts in the House and Senate to change the mandate of the Federal Reserve. Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Congress should take the lead on reworking a successful Iran deal North Korea tensions ease ahead of Winter Olympics MORE (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) on Tuesday said they wanted to change the Fed’s mandate so it would focus exclusively on inflation and not also on maintaining maximum employment.

The announcement by Corker and Pence follows intense GOP criticism of the Fed’s decision to purchase $600 billion in long-term assets in the hope of promoting additional economic growth and lowering the nation’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in recent months has expressed repeated worries about the nation’s slow growth and the difficulty of reducing the jobless rate.

Donohue praised both Bernanke and the Fed, which he said gave the U.S. a “very unique strength” in dealing with financial crises compared to other countries.

Donohue said the Chamber is “hopeful” the central bank’s $600 billion plan, referred to as “quantitative easing,” would be successful.

“We’re hopeful that the Fed’s judgments turn out to be very positive for job creation and economic expansion,” Donohue said.