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GOP senators press Federal Reserve on climate agenda amid record inflation, banking uncertainty

EXCLUSIVE: A coalition of nine Senate Republicans led by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, sent a letter Wednesday morning to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, blasting the central bank for its climate agenda amid other pressing issues.

Sullivan and the other Republicans criticized the Fed — which has a statutorily defined mission of promoting “maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates” — for increasingly pursuing a climate agenda, according to the letter first obtained by Fox News Digital. The lawmakers said the central bank should instead focus on issues within its mandate such as inflation and uncertainty in the banking sector.

“We are growing increasingly frustrated with the Federal Reserve’s engagement on environmental policymaking and research far outside of its statutory mandate, all while there is persistent inflation and a crisis of confidence in the banking sector,” they stated in the letter to Powell. 

“We urge you to rein in the Fed’s regional banks and its economists who are seemingly ignoring your leadership,” the letter continued. “The Fed’s credibility hangs in the balance, and without a course correction, history will find you either complicit or ineffective as Chairman.”

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However, a week after the comments, which Powell made during a global summit in Sweden, the Fed told the nation’s six largest banks to produce data about how their business might be impacted by climate change and, separately, a green transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“The Fed is actively signaling that bank activities that do not further the goals of net zero by 2050 are inherently risky and disfavored,” the Republicans’ letter Wednesday added. “This drives capital away from traditional energy development at a critical time for our economic and national security, while empowering America’s adversaries.”

In addition, three major banks — First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank which had assets worth $212 billion, $209 billion and $110 billion, respectively, according to Federal Reserve data — recently imploded partly as a result of high interest rates. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimated its actions to resolve the failures will cost taxpayers about $36 billion.

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“When federal regulators become political and start prioritizing activist-driven ESG principles rather than doing the jobs federal law requires them to do, areas of concern quickly become crises, and the American people are left to face the consequences,” Sullivan told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

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And Sullivan penned a separate letter Tuesday to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, expressing his concern about the Wall Street regulator’s focus on climate change.

“The SEC should be focusing on these issues and ensuring that American investors are protected from a shaky Chinese economy and dangerously fickle and politically-focused authoritarian rule by the CCP,” Sullivan wrote in that letter. “Yet the SEC seems divorced from this reality, pursuing an aggressive agenda of unnecessary climate disclosures and other burdensome rules.”

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