Senate GOP shamed for blocking vote on Biden’s Fed nominees



Activists and Democratic senators were outraged on Tuesday after some Senate Republicans skipped a key committee vote, delaying the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s five Federal Reserve nominees to protest his pick for the top banking regulator.

“The Federal Reserve is at a critical time when it must have the expertise to deal with the compound crisis of Covid, inflation and unemployment, and the realities of the climate crisis in our communities.”

The boycott was led by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, who was to vote on the five nominations. Panel rules require a majority of members to be present for such actions, which can advance nominees to the full chamber for the final confirmation vote.

“Shame on Senator Toomey and Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee for boycotting today’s vote and delaying confirmation of this highly qualified slate of nominees to the Federal Reserve Board,” Brooke Harper said. , campaign manager for 350 US.

“This boycott is pure politics, and a rejection of the serious skill, competence and experience that this list would bring to the Federal Reserve,” said Harper, whose group criticized Biden’s renomination of the president. of the Fed, Jerome Powell, but praised the others.

“Combined, we believe that Lael Brainard as Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, along with Sarah Bloom Raskin, Lisa Cook and Phillip Jefferson form a strong package that can reinforce the critical independence of the Federal Reserve, while providing long – diversity of thought, experience and perspective lagging behind in the Board of Governors,” the campaigner added.

GOP members of the panel opposed voting on Bloom Raskin — a former Fed board member and wife of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) — as vice chairman for oversight banking.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who chairs the committee, said in a statement that “ranking member Toomey has chosen to abdicate his duty to the American people and put our economic recovery at risk, instead of do his job and show up to vote on the nominations of Mrs. Bloom Raskin, Dr. Cook, Dr. Jefferson, Governor Brainard and President Powell.

“Americans are counting on us to get these candidates in place as soon as possible. If my colleagues are as concerned about inflation as they claim they are, they’ll end the theatrics,” Brown said. “Any action to delay this vote will hurt workers, their families and our recovery.”

Speaking to panel members on Tuesday, the president also defended Bloom Raskin:

Let’s be clear: Ms. Bloom Raskin has been the subject of a relentless smear campaign and fear campaign by the Ranking Member and Republicans that has become all too common.

They twisted her words and portrayed her as some kind of radical. As we heard during her nomination hearing, in her own words, Ms. Bloom Raskin is a mainstream economic thinker. It is not responsible for telling the banks to whom to lend. His views on the climate are not extreme. It’s about accounting for the risks that threaten our financial system, wherever we find them. As she has said many times, it is about the resilience of the economic and financial system.

But the attacks on Ms. Bloom Raskin did not stop there. They have become more personal. They can’t attack him on the merits, so they indulged in malicious libel – by insinuation – without offering a shred of evidence.

“Now Republicans have fled the room – hiding rather than voting for a fair and experienced candidate,” Brown added. “I urge my fellow Republicans to come back to the table, vote their conscience, and let the Senate do its solemn duties.”

Committee member Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) delivered a fiery Senate boycott speech on Tuesday, slamming the GOP for what she called “particularly desperate attacks” and “bad faith attempts.” to take down a highly qualified candidate who is committed to doing the regulatory work of the biggest financial institutions.”

“Raskin has unparalleled expertise in both the monetary policy and financial regulation components of labor,” Warren said. “Few people in the whole country are as qualified as her for this role.”

The White House also criticized the walkout. Echoing Brown, publicist Jen Psaki noted that “some Senate Republicans are playing politics with the US economy by blocking a vote on the Federal Reserve Chairman and a whole slate of well-qualified candidates”.

“Such an extreme move would be totally irresponsible at a time when it has never been more important to have confirmed leadership at the Fed to help continue our recovery and maintain price stability,” Psaki added.

The press secretary also defended the beleaguered candidate, calling Bloom Raskin “one of the most qualified people to ever serve at the Federal Reserve” and noting that she “has made the strongest ethical commitments to the history of the Fed”.

Like The New York Times reported Tuesday:

Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University who co-wrote a book on Fed policy, said Democrats should come up with a strategy to overcome Republicans’ deadlock or candidates could get stuck in limbo.

“It’s really a delay – it could still sabotage Raskin,” she said, noting that Democrats could smash the nominations or could try to gain enough support among the full Senate to override the rules. of the committee, although that can be a challenge. “It’s pretty unexplored, and they’re going to have to find a way.”

Last year, 350 launched a campaign calling on the Fed to end bank financing of fossil fuels, align its own spending and asset purchases with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C target and encourage investments to limit global temperature rise, with a focus on low-income people. regions and communities of color.

Harper stressed on Tuesday that “the Federal Reserve is at a critical time when it must have the expertise to tackle the compound crisis of Covid, inflation and unemployment, and the realities of the climate crisis in our communities. “.

“These candidates can get the Federal Reserve back to work and deal with these serious crises through smart regulation,” she said, urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) to go from forward with a floor vote to “confirm these highly qualified economic decisions.” champions now.”

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