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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, center, poses for a photo with Joint Economic Committee Chairman Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., left, and ranking member Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Fed chief Janet Yellen says she isn't stepping down anytime soon


Fed chief Janet Yellen says she isn't stepping down anytime soon

WATCH  | Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen says she has no intentions of stepping down as leader of America's central bank.

Janet Yellen says she's not going anywhere anytime soon.

There had been talk that when Donald Trump got elected, the Fed chief would quit her role. But she set the record straight on Thursday in testimony before Congress, saying she has no intentions of quitting.

And though she didn't say anything directly about the current political climate, she did express the need for central bank independence.

President-elect Trump has been critical of Yellen in the past.

It is fully my intention to serve out (my) term.
Janet Yellen

Trump even hinted at replacing her when he takes office.

But when asked if there were any circumstances that would get her to leave her post before her term expires, she said:

"No I cannot. I was confirmed by the Senate to a four-year term, which ends at the end of January 2018, and it is fully my intention to serve out that term."

She also talked about the student debt crisis.

Student debt still a big concern

Yellen said that student debt has "really escalated to an extraordinary degree," and may actually be preventing college grads from buying homes and starting families.

She also said the U.S. economy is improving and "the case for an increase" in interest rates has strengthened. The Fed is expected to raise rates in December -- a move they haven't made since last December.

Yellen noted the job market has improved and that inflation has started to pick up.

Gradual hikes

"Holding the federal funds rate at its current level for too long could also encourage excessive risk-taking and ultimately undermine financial stability," Yellen said.

Translation: If the Fed doesn't raise rates sooner rather than later, it could make it so they have to abruptly, increasing chances of a recession. Still, Yellen has stressed any rate hikes would be gradual.

Talking policy

The central bank leader said they will adjust policy as the landscape becomes clearer. But, she did address one piece of legislation that has been brought up numerous times throughout the election: Dodd-Frank.

"I wouldn't want to see the clock turned back on those," Yellen said, adding that we (the American economy) are "safer and sounder" under it.

Many of the reforms following the financial crisis are housed within Dodd-Frank.

Black, Hispanic unemployment

Yellen said it is crucial to help Americans left behind by globalization:

"While the improvements in the labor market over the past year have been widespread across racial and ethnic groups, it is troubling that unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanics remain higher than for the nation overall, and that the annual income of the median African American household and the median Hispanic household is still well below the median income of other U.S. households."

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