House Democratic leadership slammed President Donald Trump's nominees for the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, calling them unqualified and dangerous.
Speaking to reporters at a private lawmakers' retreat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called conservative commentator Stephen Moore and businessman Herman Cain "the worst, ill-suited appointments that the president could come up with."
"The Fed should be determining the rates, not any politicians," Pelosi said. "That is a dangerous thing for an economy, when a central bank of the country has political influence. It's wrong."
In an interview with CNBC, Vice President Mike Pence said Cain and Moore share Trump's philosophy for the economy and the direction of interest rates. Pelosi questioned whether that could mean the administration would meddle in the Fed's decisions.
Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries predicted that the White House would eventually withdraw the nominations. Trump has said he wants to appoint Cain and Moore to the Board of Governors but has not yet submitted official paperwork. Cain abandoned his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 amid allegations of sexual harassment. Moore — who has argued for an immediate cut to the Fed's benchmark interest rate — is in a dispute with the IRS over $75,000 in unpaid taxes.
"It's not clear to me whether that's reality or a 'Saturday Night Live' skit," Jeffries told reporters at the retreat. "It's an embarrassment."
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak Thursday night at the retreat. Democrats invited him to attend, and Pelosi said that his appearance would not further politicize the central bank. A few weeks ago, Powell spoke with about 50 House Republicans at the request of Minority Whip Steve Scalise.
"He's not a political person in any way," Pelosi said.
She also expressed faith in his ability to maintain the Fed's independence.
"Thank God Chairman Powell is there," she said. "But for him to have to deal with a politically motivated Fed … there are so many bridges too far. But this is a really dangerous one."