John Ydstie

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Senators lashed out today over the Trump administration's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross fielded complaints from Democrats and Republicans about lost jobs and damage to U.S. companies. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve increased a key interest rate again Wednesday, which will trigger higher rates on credit cards, home equity lines and other kinds of borrowing.

The Trump administration's mixed signals on implementing tariffs is causing uncertainty for many businesses whose costs could rise if tariffs are imposed. Delaying decisions about hiring and signing contracts could hurt not only the individual businesses, but the economy as a whole.

Update: On June 15, Lucerne International CEO Mary Buchzeiger said she had been notified that the auto door hinges manufactured by her company had been removed from the Trump administration's list of goods that would be subject to a 25 percent tariff.

Update: On June 15, Lucerne International CEO Mary Buchzeiger said she had been notified that the auto door hinges manufactured by her company had been removed from the Trump administration's list of goods that would be subject to a 25 percent tariff.

The last time Mary Buchzeiger was in Washington, D.C., she was a 13-year-old on an eighth-grade trip.

This week, as the head of a small company that supplies parts to automakers, she joined other business leaders in the nation's capital to talk about President Trump's proposed tariffs aimed at China.

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U.S. economic growth slowed in the first three months of the year to a 2.3 percent annual rate, down from 2.9 percent at the end of last year.

One reason is that consumers didn't keep up with the blistering pace of spending at the beginning of the year, which means slower economic growth overall, analysts say. But, if recent trends are any indication, the economy will pick up steam soon.

Updated at 4:19 p.m. ET

Interest rates reached a milestone Tuesday and the stock market frowned.

Tuesday morning, for the first time in four years, the rate on the 10-year U.S. government note topped 3 percent. The bond market move contributed to a sharp sell-off in stocks, as investors wondered whether the long-running bull market might be at a pivot point.

President Trump's tariffs on imported steel aren't the first time the industry has gotten protection from the U.S. government. Not by a long shot. In fact, tariff protection for the industry — which politicians often say is a vital national interest — goes back to the very beginning of the republic.

In his book, Clashing Over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy, Dartmouth professor Douglas Irwin writes that protection for the metal producers began in the 1790s.

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The U.S. economy grew at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2017, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That's slightly faster than the previous 2.5 percent growth estimate, but slower than the 3.2 percent pace of the third quarter.

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The U.S. stock market rocketed higher yesterday as fears of a possible trade war between the U.S. and China eased. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the two countries have begun talks aimed at avoiding tit-for-tat sanctions that could damage both sides.

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Updated at 2:59 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve announced a quarter-point increase in interest rates as expected Wednesday, the first rate move under its new chairman, Jerome Powell. The key fed funds rate was moved up to a target range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent.

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Updated at 5:14 p.m. ET

President Trump promised steel and aluminum executives Thursday that he will levy tariffs on imports of their products in coming weeks. He said the imported steel will face tariffs of 25 percent, while aluminum will face tariffs of 10 percent.

"We're going to build our steel industry back and we're going to build our aluminum industry back," Trump told reporters.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve remains on track to continue increasing interest rates gradually to keep the economy functioning smoothly, Jerome Powell told Congress on Tuesday in his first testimony as Fed chairman.

With a nod to the new tax-cutting law, Powell noted that "fiscal policy is becoming more stimulative" and he predicted inflation would rise this year and stabilize around the Fed's 2 percent target.

"My personal outlook for the economy has strengthened since December," Powell told the House Financial Services Committee.

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