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Conservatives Finally Persuade Yellen To Have A Sit-Down

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has finally agreed to meet with a coalition of center-right thinkers and activists, who demanded a meeting after she met with liberal activists last year.

Persistent pressure from the coalition, led by American Principles in Action, pushed Yellen to agree to meet with them this month, APIA said in an emailed statement to reporters Tuesday.

She angered conservatives in late 2014 when she met with a coalition of community organizers and labor unions, organized by the progressive Center for Popular Democracy, in a closed-door meeting. The coalition wanted to lobby the Fed on behalf of workers, immigrants and minorities.

The meeting was an unprecedented move for the Fed, which is traditionally apolitical.

Steve Lonegan, director of monetary policy for APIA, sent an initial letter to Yellen asking for a similar meeting with conservatives, but she ignored his request. In December, he sent a follow-up letter with signatures from a coalition of conservative groups, including Americans for Tax Reform and the Ethics and Public Policy Center. (RELATED: Conservatives Demand Equal Treatment From The Fed)

The Fed faces new hostility from a Republican-controlled Congress, and Yellen is testifying before Congress this week after the Fed released a semi-annual monetary policy report. She has repeatedly stated her opposition to a renewed push for an Audit the Fed bill, saying it force inappropriate political pressure onto the Fed.

“Up until recently, people thought of the Fed as one of the few non-politicized operations in Washington D.C.” Grover Norquist, president of ATR, said at a December press conference following the second letter. “That’s changed, as Janet Yellen’s been having secret meetings with lobbyists.”

Since the 2008 recession, the Fed has kept interest rates low by an unprecedented policy dubbed quantitative easing, but is expected to raise them again soon. Critics are worried the transition to higher interest rates could shock the economy and cause some kind of downturn.

Norquist and Lonegan, who was also at the December press conference, called on the Fed to hear input from all sides, and reiterated their support for an audit the Fed bill that’s been stalled in the Senate.

“It’s commendable that the Fed is concerned about how its policy decisions affect job creation,” the coalition wrote in the letter. “That said, there is a perception that the Chair has been speaking and listening primarily, and perhaps exclusively, to left-of-center groups.”

Yellen will meet with the coalition, now joined by Heritage Action and the Cato Institute, this week in at the Board of Governors headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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