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Senate Republicans block vote on Biden’s Fed candidates

US Senate votes to begin work on precarious Ukraine aid package
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Republicans in the US Senate on Tuesday boycotted a vote to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominees to lead the Federal Reserve, creating a potential roadblock for the central bank as it looks to fight runaway inflation.

The Senate Banking Committee was scheduled to vote on the nomination of Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a second term, as well as Fed Governor Lael Brainard to serve as his vice chair, Sarah Bloom Raskin for the post of top banking regulator and Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to join the central bank’s Board of Governors.

But opposition lawmakers denied the committee the quorum it needed to proceed, and delaying confirmation by the full Senate. Powell’s term as Fed chair officially expired February 4, and there are three vacant seats on the board.

On the Senate floor, Republican leader Mitch McConnell called Biden’s choices “controversial,” singling out Cook, saying she “previously promoted partisan conspiracy theories.”

If confirmed, Cook would be the first Black woman on the Fed board.

Senator Pat Toomey, the top Republican on the banking committee, accused Raskin of being evasive towards lawmakers.

“All senators — not just Banking Republicans — deserve straightforward and honest answers from Ms. Raskin before having to cast a vote on her nomination,” he said in a statement.

As vice chair for supervision, Raskin would have the Fed “allocate capital and choke off credit to disfavored industries,” Toomey said.

The committee’s Democratic chair Senator Sherrod Brown hit back, saying, “Instead of showing up to work, to do their job, Republicans have walked out on the American people.”

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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