Vote on Federal Reserve nominees delayed by opposition

Sean St. James

A confirmation vote on President Joe Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve has been delayed due to Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee choosing not to show up in an effective boycott.

This comes at a rough time for the Fed as the country deals with the highest inflation rates in nearly four decades, along with increasing gas prices.

The list of the delayed nominees include Jerome Powell, who is seeking a second consecutive term as the chairman of the Fed, Lael Brainard, who is seeking the position of vice chair and economists Lisa Cook and Phillip Jefferson, who are nominated as governors.

However, the Republican senators appear to be boycotting the vote specifically because of Sarah Bloom Raskin, who Biden has nominated to be the Fed’s top banking regulator. Raskin has faced criticism for arguing that the Fed must consider the ongoing issues of climate change.

“Accelerating the transition is just not the Fed’s job, it’s not their political mandate, it’s not supported by the data around the actual risks of climate change to the financial system, and it’s just way too controversial,” Randal Quarles, whose post Raskin is trying to fill and a former pick of former President Donald Trump, said to The Wall Street Journal.

Raskin has a distinguished background, having been on the Fed’s Board of Governors, served as the Treasury’s deputy secretary and, most notably, served on the Board of Directory of Colorado- based financial tech trust company Reverse Trust.

Her work with Reverse Trust also drew backlash with Senate Republicans, arguing that she obtained the position improperly by using her position in the Fed as a sort of unethical leverage, according to Reuters.

“Ms. Raskin’s repeated and forceful advocacy for having the Federal Reserve allocate capital and choke off credit to disfavored industries is alone disqualifying and reason enough to vote against her,” Sen. Pat Toomey, said on Feb. 14.

The delayed vote cannot come at a worse time for the economy, as the Fed was preparing to combat the effects of inflation by raising interest rates.

As the delay continues, these crucial initiatives will be increasingly needed in order to provide a path to steer out of the burdens stemming from the soaring Consumer Price Index, which currently stands at a 7.5% figure when aggregated for an annual basis, according to CNBC.

If confirmed by the committee, Raskin has said that she will seek to conduct projects looking into how climate change affects the financial market, reverse the breaks given to large publicly traded companies on Wall Street by her predecessor and craft new rules and regulations that would side with fair lending practices.

These initiatives target areas overlooked by the Fed but are necessary to mold better practices, but those efforts will be delayed as well. Raskin has garnered the praises of Democratic lawmakers, who have defended her from personal and policy-concentrated attacks.

“They can’t attack her on substance, she’s so qualified, so they’ve engaged in malicious character assassination and innuendo, without offering real evidence,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee remain committed to stopping nominees with liberal-leaning agendas from influencing the Fed, but doing so continues to affect the conduct of the nation’s central banking system.