Biden’s Picks for Fed Vice-Chairman of Oversight Pulls Out amid Republican Objections

Former Federal Reserve Board governor Sarah Bloom Raskin has withdrawn her name for consideration as central bank vice chair for oversight in a bid to push other nominations through.

According to a Tuesday tweet by Washington Post journalist Seung Min Kim, Raskin sent a letter to US President Joe Biden retiring as his candidate for the next vice chairman to oversee the Federal Reserve, citing “relentless attacks by special interests”. The letter referred to Republican lawmakers who, she said, have been “held hostage” since February.

“Their point of contention was my frank public discussion about climate change and the economic costs associated with it,” Raskin said. “It was — and is — my considered opinion that the dangers of climate change should be added to the list of serious risks the Federal Reserve considers as it works to ensure the stability and resilience of our economy and financial system.”

She added:

“Identifying and prioritizing economic threats is not only within the Federal Reserve’s mandate, but is essential to the well-being of the country.”

While Democrats currently hold a slim majority in the U.S. Senate and Vice President Kamala Harris can act as the casting vote, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said on Monday that he opposed Raskin’s nomination, suggesting the political party was unlikely to push through Biden’s choice without Republican backing. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly said called on the US president to nominate a new candidate for Fed vice chairman for oversight.

In February, Senate Banking Committee lawmakers were due to vote on Raskin’s nomination, as well as those of future Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Vice Chair Lael Brainard and board members Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson. However, Republican lawmakers reportedly boycotted the meeting over allegations by party members that Raskin lobbied the president of the Kansas City Fed in 2017 for access to its payment systems on behalf of the Reserve Trust.

Raskin was a board member of the fintech company at the time. In her withdrawal letter, she said the allegations have been “completely refuted and have no legal or factual basis”.

“Instead of a productive and informed discussion about climate and financial risks, the country was treated to diversionary attacks on my ethics and character,” Raskin said. “We are witnessing a drive to turn financial risk into a tacky political issue.”

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Pat Toomey, the most senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, said on Monday that Republicans were willing to move forward with the vote on Powell, Brainard, Cook and Jefferson — but not Raskin. Without a vote for the full Senate, some nominees have seemingly been unable to take on the duties necessary for a fully staffed Federal Reserve. the Fed called Powell as chairman pro tempore, pending Senate confirmation on Feb. 4.

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