WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The pair of economists nominated by President Donald Trump to fill vacant seats on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors have pledged to support the central bank’s mission of full employment and price stability, but just how they would pursue those goals will come under scrutiny on Thursday.
The Senate Banking Committee kicks off a nomination hearing for conservative economist Judy Shelton and St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank research chief Christopher Waller at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT).
Trump has blamed the Fed for holding back economic growth by not lowering rates far or fast enough, and his two picks are seen as part of an effort to shape monetary policy more to his liking.
Both Waller and Shelton released opening statements on Wednesday ahead of their hearings that offered few clues about their views on monetary policy beyond promising to promote policies that support financial stability and help the Fed meet its goals of full employment and price stability.
The two emphasized the Fed’s accountability to Congress, which oversees the central bank.
But Waller leaned harder on the notion of Fed independence, noting he had studied the subject as an academic before joining the central bank. He also noted the time he had spent with members of the community discussing how Fed policy affects them, adding that the input he received “affected how I thought about policy and its consequences.”
Shelton, a frequent critic of the Fed who since her nomination has expressed support for lower rates, did not repeat that view in her statement.
“I hope to contribute intellectual diversity as a Governor and would work collegially to promote sound money and sound finances,” she said.
The phrase “sound money” is often associated with the gold standard, a return to which Shelton has advocated. (Additional reporting by Ann Saphir in San Francisco Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)