|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Tuesday, February 13, 2001||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following statement today at a full committee hearing on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy:
"This is an important hearing. It is the first of the new hearings on monetary policy under the Federal Reporting Act of 2000.
"As our colleagues and Chairman Greenspan will remember, for many years we had a semi-annual report under the Humphrey-Hawkins Act. It required the Federal Reserve to report on many economic factors that are not as relevant in 2001 than they were in the 1970s. We were able to work out a bipartisan agreement to change the focus of the semi-annual hearing and, as a result of that bipartisan effort, today we are holding our first hearing. I want to thank Senator Sarbanes for his leadership in helping us reach the agreement that would allow these hearings to move forward.
"I'm also glad that we have agreed that, except under circumstances in which the committee of jurisdiction in either house of Congress feels it is necessary to hear the testimony again, we will have reduced four hearings a year for Chairman Greenspan down to two. Knowing that he is a busy man, trying to keep the economy strong, doing God's work in that effort, I think that that is an important achievement.
"We are here today to hear a report on the American economy. In my opinion, since roughly 1982, when the Reagan program became operational, we have been virtually in a 19-year golden era in America. Not only do we have higher real income, not only do we have a plethora of consumer goods at lower prices and higher quality than any consumer in history has ever had, but this expansion has been so strong that people who were once considered unemployable are now viable, functioning members of the labor pool.
"In this environment we were able to reform welfare and require that people leave welfare and go to work. They've done it, not only benefitting the taxpayer with lower welfare expenditures but benefitting themselves by earning the dignity that comes with being self-supporting.
"It is hard to imagine anything that is more important than keeping this economic expansion going. So this is a vitally important hearing. Chairman Greenspan, as always, we look forward to hearing what you have to say. We look forward to working with you to do what we have to do to maximize the chances that this economic expansion will continue, that we will continue to create jobs and growth and opportunity for all of our people."