Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Mo.) on Wednesday asked about whether he would like to see the Federal Reserve keep its benchmark rate at a level of 2 percent, which was set in December 2015.
The question came as the Treasury Department reported a 0.9 percent increase in its quarter-on-quarter increase in total net interest income.
It was the largest quarterly increase since the Fed began keeping a central bank benchmark rate steady in December 2009.
Walsh’s question was met with laughter from the crowd at a news conference.
“The Fed keeps its rates low.
You know why?
Because it’s a joke,” Walsh said.
“We should be raising them.”
Walsh, a Republican, was the first Republican to be elected to Congress.
He has served in Congress since 2008 and is known for his anti-abortion stance.
He previously faced criticism from some conservatives over comments he made last year about the health of the American economy.
Wales is one of three Republicans to vote against the GOP’s current version of the tax bill, which is expected to be approved on Thursday.