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Public Statements

Executive Session

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I wanted to speak for a moment today about the vote we are going to have this afternoon on the Federal Reserve Board members who have been nominated. I have met both of these individuals, and I plan to vote for them today at noon. But I want tell you why I am going to do that. I am very concerned about the overly accommodative efforts that are taking place right now at the Federal Reserve. I think these low interest rates over long periods of time will create inflation in our country. I believe the Fed has been proactive in recent times in ways that make me nervous. As soon as QE2 was announced, I immediately called the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and we had a meeting in our office to talk about the concerns he had and the concerns we in our office have.

I would love to see the Federal Reserve have a single mandate like the European Central Bank has and the Bank of England has, where their sole purpose is really price stability. I would also love to see Congress act responsibly and deal with many fiscal and other kinds of issues that are holding down our economy. I think sometimes the Federal Reserve feels as though it is the only entity that is actually acting to try to stimulate our economy. I understand the position they are in, having a dual mandate, which I think is inappropriate and hopefully over time will change.

These two nominees, candidly, do not represent the kind of a more hawkish position I would like to see the Federal Reserve take where they are concerned about price stability over the long haul. At the same time, both of these gentlemen are qualified. I don't think there is any question that someone would say that these two individuals are qualified. We do have Fed Presidents from around the country who typically, as far as monetary policy on the Federal Reserve Board, do act in more hawkish ways and probably more represent the way that I would view things as they ought to be in some of the accommodations the Federal Reserve has continued to make.

I hope we do not get into a situation where we end up having--you can actually call it QE4. Some people might call it QE3. I hope that does not happen and that we will continue to press the Federal Reserve towards that end in any way we can.

I also know that there is going to be an election in November and that whoever the next President is--obviously, as you would expect, I hope there is a change in occupancy at the White House this November, someone who will actually try to solve the problems our Nation has. But whoever the next President is, they will have the opportunity to appoint the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve very soon and also the next Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

So I guess what I would say in closing is that I am going to support these nominees because they are qualified. I do hope they will press the Chairman of the Federal Reserve to be more concerned about price stability, especially into the future. But I do not want to vote no today because I think it sets a precedent of saying that, look, these guys are qualified--I do not think there is any question about that. And I want the next President--who I hope, again, is someone different than we have today--to have the opportunity with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle--if a change is to occur and if the President has the opportunity to appoint a new Federal Reserve Chairman and a new Vice Chairman and he deems them qualified and this body deems them qualified, I hope we are going to have the opportunity to fill those positions.

So, again, I plan to vote for these nominees in an effort to continue to cause this place to focus in the way I think it should. They are not ideal, from my perspective, but they are qualified.

I might remind friends on my side of the aisle that we did have someone who was nominated several months ago who was not in the mainstream. This person was not in the mainstream of thinking, and this person did not become a member of the Federal Reserve Board. So we have ended up having two nominees who are more middle of the road. They are not as hawkish as I would like to see them be. They are not as focused--they possibly will not be as focused on price stability as I would like to see them be. But they are qualified. They are not out of the mainstream. And I do plan to support them.


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