McConnell, Trump Dealt Blow With Federal Reserve Board Nomination Rejection

( The Senate blocked the nomination of Judy Shelton the Federal Reserve Board Tuesday.

It was a big blow to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who decided to move the vote forward — and President Donald Trump, who was looking to shakeup the central bank of the U.S. before he departs the White House in January.

Two Republican senators were forced to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19, which prevented the GOP from gaining enough votes to overcome the opposition to Shelton that Democrats brought. Once it was apparent that the nomination would not pass, McConnell changed his vote to no.

This allows him to bring Shelton up for reconsideration at a later time. McConnell could choose to do that as soon as later this week, if either of the two senators who are quarantining can return to the floor.

Along with the 47 Democratic and two independent senators, Republicans Susan Collins from Maine and Mitt Romney from Utah voted no, resulting in the 50-47 vote against Shelton’s nomination.

Both Rick Scott of Florida and Chuck Grassley of Iowa were expected to support Shelton’s nomination, but they were forced into quarantine this week. Grassley tested positive for coronavirus, and Scott was exposed to someone who tested positive.

Despite McConnell leaving the door open for a re-nomination of Shelton, it’s not certain whether that will be able to happen procedurally. It’s unclear at this point when Scott and Grassley will return to Capitol Hill and could partake in a vote. In addition, the Senate is scheduled off next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

Following the holiday break, the Republicans will have to muster up additional votes, too. That’s because Mark Kelly, a Democrat from Arizona, defeated Republican Martha McSally in a special election — and he’ll take his seat after the holiday break.

If the two quarantining senators return — and if Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander returns to Washington to vote next time as well — that would result in a 50-50 vote. Republicans would, therefore, get their way with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. However, once Kelly takes McSally’s seat, the Republicans will be one vote shy again.

The 66-year-old Shelton once served as an informal adviser to the president. She has long advocated for a return to the gold standard in the country. She has strongly opposed federal deposit insurance.

However, in an apparent attempt to align with the views of Trump, she once called for cuts to the federal interest rate and for abandoning her previous views on fiscal policy.

Shelton previously also questioned the relevance of the Federal Reserve Bank’s mandate, which Congress sets, that seeks to pursue maximum employment and price stability.

Earlier this year, a group of prominent economists that included seven winners of the Nobel Prize, as well as other former officials with the Fed, signed letters that urged Senators to reject Shelton’s nomination to the Federal Reserve Board.