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HomeNewsSenate Republicans boycott committee vote on Biden’s Fed nominees

Senate Republicans boycott committee vote on Biden’s Fed nominees


Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee declined to show up Tuesday for votes on President Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve over their objection to one of the choices — delaying the confirmation of Fed Chair Jerome Powell to a second four-year term.

Though Democrats have nominal control of the panel in the evenly divided Senate, the GOP absences prevented a quorum from being called and the votes from taking place.

The boycott was led by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the committee’s ranking member, who said that Sarah Bloom Raskin — Biden’s pick to be the Fed’s top banking regulator — had not sufficiently answered questions about her work as a board member at financial technology firm Reserve Trust.

Toomey claimed last week that Raskin had improperly lobbied the Kansas City Fed on behalf of Reserve Trust in 2017 in order to secure the company access to the central bank’s payment system. Raskin said during her confirmation hearing earlier this month that she did not recall doing so, but added that if she had, “I would have abided by all applicable ethics rules in such communications.”

Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee did not show up to vote for President Biden's nominees to the Federal Reserve due to issues with candidate Sarah Bloom Raskin.
Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee did not show up to vote for President Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve due to issues with candidate Sarah Bloom Raskin.
Photo by Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images
Sen. Pat Toomey claimed that Raskin didn't answer questions about her role as board member at financial technology firm Reserve Trust.
Sen. Pat Toomey claimed that Raskin didn’t answer questions about her role as a board member at financial technology firm Reserve Trust.
EPA/BILL O’LEARY / POOL

“Until basic questions have been adequately addressed, I do not think the Committee should proceed with a vote on Ms. Raskin,” Toomey said in a statement Tuesday.

“Important questions about Ms. Raskin’s use of the ‘revolving door’ remain unanswered largely because of her repeated disingenuousness,” the lawmaker said, referring to Raskin’s prior tenure as a member of the Fed’s Board of Governors and deputy Treasury secretary during the Obama administration.

“Her fitness to serve, her judgment, and her probity are of utmost importance because Ms. Raskin is being considered for a 10-year term at the nation’s independent central bank and foremost financial regulator,” Toomey went on.

The Pennsylvanian added that Republicans were willing to vote on Biden’s four other nominees, including Powell, but were not willing to proceed on the Raskin pick.

Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said Republicans had opted to “abdicate their duty to the American people.”

“End the theatrics and show up to do your jobs,” he said on Twitter.

The GOP boycott will lead to a delay in confirming  Fed Chair Jerome Powell's second term.
The GOP boycott will lead to a delay in confirming Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s second term.
Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP
Raskin denied that she did the lobbying in 2017 at her confirmation hearing.
Raskin denied that she did the lobbying in 2017 at her confirmation hearing.
Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP

At the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki said Toomey and his fellow Republicans were being “irresponsible” with the boycott.

“It’s never been more important to have confirmed leadership at the Fed to help continue our recovery and fight inflation,” she told reporters. “And obviously, they have a unique role to play, an important, vital role to play as it relates to inflation. And I think Democrats and Republicans have agreed on that for decades. So Republicans are out there saying, ‘Inflation is a problem. It’s a huge issue.’ We agree. And then they’re not even bothering to show up to even vote against these nominees to the Federal Reserve. What message is that sending to the American public?”

Psaki then defended Raskin specifically, calling her “one of the most qualified individuals to ever be nominated to the Federal Reserve” and claiming Toomey’s allegations had been “shot down — by ethics experts, the Kansas City Fed, the founder of Reserve Trust, and Sarah Bloom Raskin herself.”

In addition to the improper lobbying allegations, Republicans have also criticized Raskin for what they describe as her outsized focus on climate change and its influence on economic policy and are concerned that she could block loans to oil and gas companies. 

Along with Powell and Raskin, the committee was scheduled to vote on Lael Brainard, Lisa Cook, who would be the first black woman on the Fed, and Philip Jefferson. 

With Post wires





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