Trump Federal Reserve nominee Judy Shelton failed a key Senate vote Tuesday, leaving her confirmation in doubt.
The Senate voted against ending debate and advancing her nomination, 50-47. Republicans could try for another vote, but time is running low.
Two Republicans opposed the nomination: Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, also voted “no” as a procedural maneuver to retain the possibility of bringing Shelton’s nomination back to the floor.
The defections were enough to block her advancement because two other Republicans, Rick Scott of Florida and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, were exposed to COVID-19 this week and are quarantining. Therefore, they failed to make the vote. All Democrats voted against Shelton’s nomination, including Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who traveled down for the vote from Delaware, where she has been planning the transition with President-elect Joe Biden.
McConnell could schedule another vote for when all Republicans are available. He faces a time crunch, though, as he will lose a “yes” vote when Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona leaves office to be replaced by Democratic Sen.-elect Mark Kelly. Kelly will take office as soon as Arizona certifies the results of the special election.
President Trump announced his intention to nominate Shelton to the Fed’s Board of Governors on July 3, 2019, and her nomination has faced numerous struggles since then.
Shelton has generated opposition for her pointed criticisms of the Fed and her advocacy for a return to the gold standard as a monetary system.
Shelton said in 2011 that the Fed is “almost a rogue agency” and asked whether it could be trusted in having oversight of the dollar. She has also called for a 0% inflation target, rather than the bank’s current 2% target, and has raised the “fundamental question” of “why do we need a central bank?”
She has also raised concerns on both sides of the aisle for her view that the Fed should have less power and independent discretion and, instead, have closer ties to the White House.
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