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Saturday, December 05, 2020

US Senate likely to vote on controversial Federal Reserve pick next week

Judy Shelton, a conservative economics commentator, has run into stiff opposition from Senate Democrats, most economists, and many former Federal Reserve officials.

By: Reuters | Washington | November 13, 2020 12:55:37 pm
The Federal Reserve building in Washington. (File photo)

President Donald Trump’s unorthodox choice for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Judy Shelton, could be voted on by the Senate next week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office said Thursday.

The willingness of the Senate GOP leadership to bring Shelton’s nomination to the floor indicates that they likely have the votes to approve her for the central bank’s board. Her selection stalled in September when Sen. Jon Thune, a member of the Senate leadership, said that there wasn’t sufficient support for her.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Republican from Alaska, said Thursday she would support Shelton, after previously refusing to disclose her position. GOP Sen. Mitt Romney from Utah has said he is opposed to Shelton’s nomination. Republicans currently have a 53-47 majority.

Shelton, a conservative economics commentator, has run into stiff opposition from Senate Democrats, most economists, and many former Fed officials for her past support of the gold standard and for writings that questioned the Fed’s political independence. Under the gold standard, the US dollar’s value is tied to gold. Such an approach is now seen as unworkable by most economists.

Shelton was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on a 13-12 party-line vote in July. Senate Democrats criticized her for appearing to flip-flop on many positions, including near-zero interest rates. She opposed ultra-low rates during President Barack Obama’s presidency but supported them after President Donald Trump took office and demanded that the Fed lower rates.

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