President Obama and Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenDemocrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision Hoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat Biden's IRS proposal could mark the end of privacy in banking MORE discussed the long-term outlook for the U.S. economy in their first one-on-one meeting since she took charge at the central bank, the White House said Monday.
The pair also discussed the president's upcoming trip to Asia and Australia, which is expected to include discussion of a Pacific trade deal and a meeting of the G-20 economies.
"Over the course of his trip to Asia, he’ll have the opportunity to talk about the importance and the benefits of opening up markets overseas to American products. … And so the president having this conversation with the chair of the Fed makes sense in advance of that meeting," Earnest said.
At the same time, Earnest cautioned that the White House did not "anticipate that there will be a significant breakthrough in trade talks while the president's traveling in Asia."
Last week, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said a finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership would not be unveiled at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing.
“APEC will be an opportunity when all the TPP leaders will be present, so it’s a good opportunity for them to have conversations with each other about TPP and about whatever outstanding issues are left, and give more political impetus to getting it done," Froman said.
At the White House, Earnest said the president was confident any agreement reached would be "clearly in the best interests of American workers and American businesses, American farmers in some instances."
The White House spokesman would not say, however, if Yellen and Obama planned to discuss the two vacancies on the Fed's seven-member Board of Governors. In June, National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients told Bloomberg the administration was "absolutely committed to filling those spots," and he expected a nomination "soon."
"This is a high priority, and we're working on it," Zients said.
Earnest would say only that he did not have "any updates on timing at this point."