His appearances come at a particularly sensitive time for the Fed - and for Powell personally, with Trump lashing out at his own handpicked Fed chief for not yet cutting interest rates that, in Trump's view, are needlessly slowing the economy. Trump wrote on Twitter earlier this month, the latest in a series of unprecedented attacks on the independence of the Fed by a sitting president.
After raising rates four times a year ago, the Fed has indicated in January that it would be "patient" with future hikes.
Mr Powell's semi-annual congressional testimony occurred against the backdrop of US President Donald Trump's frequent criticism of the Fed - and his demands that the Fed cut interest rates.
'The answer would be, 'No, " Powell said.
'I can't hear you, ' Waters said, urging a more enthusiastic response from the Federal Reserve chairman.
Earlier rounds of USA tariffs on trading partners including China had been dismissed by the Fed as of little macroeconomic importance, with central bankers in early May still anticipating the policy rate would remain unchanged for the rest of the year.
Some characterized a likely rate cut late this month as an "insurance policy" against an economic downturn.
"Of course, I would not do that", replied Powell, who was appointed by Trump.
"Have no fear", Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., told the chairman. But as clearly demonstrated by Powell's testimony Wednesday, the Fed is not joining the #resistance.
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Powell will testify again today before the Senate Banking Committee.
In his testimony, Powell said the economy has performed "reasonably well" over the first half of the year.
At the moment, the USA economic landscape is a mixed one: The job market appears resilient, but economic growth is slowing. But he noted that "crosscurrents, such as trade tensions and concerns about global growth, have been weighing on economic activity and the outlook".
"Apparent progress on trade turned to greater uncertainty, and our contacts in business and agriculture reported heightened concerns over trade developments", Powell said, noting that business investment, an important component of economic growth, "seems to have slowed notably" in the last few months. "It's put them at a tremendous competitive advantage, and we don't have that advantage because we have a Fed that doesn't lower interest rates".
This was despite last week's strong U.S. jobs figures and an easing of trade tensions with China.
The Fed's skittish outlook for the economy - which meanwhile downplayed the risks of inflation despite a strong job market - sent stocks roaring as it strengthened the central bank's case to take action to prolong an 11-year expansion.
After pricing in multiple rate cuts for 2019, Wall Street suffered a chilly weekend following the release of better-than-expected jobs data.
By the end of the month, both that concern and Trump's complaints are likely to be rendered moot.
Powell will nearly certainly face questions about Fed independence, given that the bank has relatively quickly - if begrudgingly - shifted its stance to align with Trump's demands for reduced interest rates.