President Joe Biden’s nominee for the Federal Reserve was on track for failure on Monday after a key moderate said he would not vote to confirm her and Sen. Susan Collins said she would not bail Democrats out on the pick.
It’s a significant blow to Sarah Bloom Raskin’s confirmation chances in a Senate split evenly at 50-50. The pick for vice chairman of supervision at the Fed faces opposition from Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee, who declined to show up for a confirmation vote, thus denying the panel a quorum at the Feb. 15 meeting.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, cited concerns on Monday about Raskin’s statements that the Fed should exclude struggling energy companies from government relief. He also cited the energy price hikes resulting in part from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Her previous public statements have failed to satisfactorily address my concerns about the critical importance of financing an all-of-the-above energy policy to meet our nation’s critical energy needs,” he said. “I have come to the conclusion that I am unable to support her nomination to serve as a member of the Federal Reserve Board.”
Manchin was in the Senate when it confirmed her by voice vote on March 12, 2014, to be deputy Treasury secretary. He wasn’t yet in the Senate when she was confirmed for a Fed position in 2010. Raskin is married to Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland.
Manchin’s announcement is also a blow to Biden’s hopes to reshape the Fed’s governance and authority. Senate Democrats could still find a path to getting her confirmed, but they would need at least one Senate Banking Republican to provide a quorum by attending a committee vote and at least one Republican on the floor to back her.
It appears they will not be able to find one. Collins told reporters in Washington that she spoke to Raskin by phone on Monday but saw “some gaps and serious issues” in her record and would not be able to support her.
The Maine senator echoed Republican allegations that Raskin used her Fed connections to secure a privileged account for a company whose board she served on the board, though the nominee and the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank have denied misconduct allegations. She left the company’s board after that in 2020, selling stock for roughly $1.5 million.
“I think, given [Manchin’s] statement, it’s pretty clear there isn’t a path forward for her,” Collins said.
Senate Banking Democrats staged a vote for Raskin and other Fed nominees last month even as they acknowledged it was meaningless. Biden nominated Raskin to be the Fed’s vice chair for supervision, a position that would allow her to set the Fed’s regulatory agenda. Republicans have criticized her views on climate change.
Manchin’s objections to Raskin come as part of the political fallout from rising energy prices and gasoline costs.
“At this historic moment for both the United States and the world at large, it is imperative the Federal Reserve Board preserves its independence and steers clear of any hint of partisanship,” he said.
Story by Steven Harras of CQ-Roll Call. BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.