Trump Asks GOP Senators for Show of Hands on Fed Nominee Choices

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  • Senators say Trump mentioned Taylor and Powell in discussion
  • Most lawmakers didn’t take part in president’s straw poll

How Markets Would React to a Powell, Taylor Fed

President Donald Trump asked Senate Republicans for a show of hands in support of potential nominees for chairman of the Federal Reserve as he took part in a lunch meeting Tuesday with the fractious caucus, two lawmakers said.

John Taylor

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn the chamber’s No. 2 GOP lawmaker, declined to say which names Trump ticked off or who drew the most raised hands. But Senator Tim Scott said Trump asked specifically about Stanford University economist John Taylor and Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell. He also mentioned the current Fed chair, Janet Yellen in his discussion.

Trump “didn’t announce a winner, but I think Taylor won,” Scott of South Carolina said. Another senator, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, said it was tough to judge who was favored because most senators didn’t raise their hands.

One of those who didn’t was Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who earlier in the day said Trump’s legacy would be “the debasement of our nation.”

Jerome Powell

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“I don’t think that’s a very good way to pick a Fed chair so I declined to participate,” Corker said.

The choice of a Fed chair is one of the most consequential economic decisions a president makes. Asked why Trump requested a straw poll of senators on the Fed chair, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, “The president is taking that decision very seriously.”

The surprise poll by Trump and word that it favored Taylor added to the 10-year Treasury yield’s rise after it broke above 2.40% earlier in the day.

Trump told reporters on Monday he was “very, very close” to announcing his nominee to serve as the next Fed chair. Yellen’s current four-year term ends in February. The White House has said he’ll make a decision before he leaves for a trip to Asia on Nov. 3.

The president has said he’s working off a short list of candidates for the top job at the central bank. It is said to include Yellen, Taylor, Powell, Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, and former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh.

— With assistance by Elizabeth Dexheimer

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