A key Democratic Senator said Monday he will not support one of President Joe Biden’s picks to serve on the Federal Reserve board, which could torpedo her chances for confirmation.
Sarah Bloom Raskin, tapped for the post of top banking regulator at the Fed, has become a lightning rod for critics, who say she is hostile to the oil industry, and Republicans have blocked efforts to even hold a vote on her nomination.
Now Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Monday he was “unable to support her nomination.”
Manchin, who has been a key swing vote in the evenly split Senate, blocking many of Biden’s initiatives, pointed to Bloom Raskin’s comments on credit for the oil industry.
“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,” Manchin said.
He said “it is imperative the Federal Reserve Board preserves its independence and steers clear of any hint of partisanship.”
White House spokesman Chris Meagher said in tweet that “we are working to line up the bipartisan support that (Bloom Raskin) deserves.”
The Senate Banking Committee had scheduled a vote in mid-February on the nominees to fill vacancies on the central bank board, including confirming Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a second term, after his tenure officially ended February 4.
But Republican members refused to attend, denying the committee a quorum.
Bloom Raskin, the nominee for vice chair for supervision, was singled out over writings which Republicans said show a bias against the oil and gas industry. She previously served on the Fed board and as a top Treasury official, winning bipartisan support for her confirmation.
Senator Sherrod Brown, the Banking Committee’s Democratic chair, slammed Republicans for undermining the Fed’s work at a time when it is focused on containing accelerating inflation.
The Fed’s policy-setting committee is poised to raise the benchmark lending rate on Wednesday at the end of its two-day meeting.