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Fed chair to speak to House GOP lawmakers Wednesday

Meeting will cover budget and debt limit as well as banking issues in the aftermath of SVB failure

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on March 7.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on March 7. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell is set to visit Capitol Hill on Wednesday and will attend the Republican Study Committee’s weekly lunch, a GOP aide said Monday.

Powell will address the conservative House group’s membership on the debt limit, budget and banking issues, the staffer said.

Powell’s visit comes as the RSC aims to establish itself as a major player in the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations. The group released a debt limit “playbook” last week, including survey results that identified energy policy changes and cutting discretionary spending as the group’s top two priorities.

The debt limit debate is currently at a standstill as President Joe Biden has said he will not negotiate with Republicans on raising the debt limit, and won’t talk with Republicans about fiscal policy until they release their budget.

However, House Budget Chairman Jodey C. Arrington, R-Texas, said the committee is delaying release of its budget in part to allow for negotiations between Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Biden on pairing a debt limit increase with concessions on spending and other Republican priorities.

The “x date” — when the Treasury Department will run out of money to pay its bills — is expected to be this summer, and congressional action will be needed before then to avoid chaos in the financial markets and a possible recession, analysts say.

Powell called on Congress to raise the debt ceiling while testifying before the Senate Banking Committee earlier this month. He said while the matter is really between the executive branch and Congress, raising the debt ceiling is the only way out that would allow the government to pay its bills.

Powell’s appearance also comes amid increased attention on the banking sector after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank earlier this month, and the administration’s decision to guarantee deposits at both SVB and New York City-based Signature Bank, including those above the $250,000 limit for coverage by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The Federal Reserve is reviewing the supervision and regulation of SVB and is planning to release its report by the start of May, Powell said earlier this month.

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