Confirmation of controversial Fed nominee Judy Shelton remains up in the air

September 15, 2020. Print article

Support for confirmation of U.S. Board of Governors nominee Judy Shelton remains uncertain, with two Republican senators stating their opposition to the Trump administration pick and others undecided.

Shelton needs approval from 50 senators plus the vice president to secure a 14-year term, but all 47 Democrats oppose her nomination, as do senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). On Tuesday, Karina Borger, a spokesperson for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said that the senator was still vetting Shelton, and a spokesperson for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said he had not publicly committed to a position on Shelton, but that he likely will in the coming weeks.

John Thune (S.D.), the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, is in conversation with a number of senators in the hopes of getting Shelton through, but has said that her nomination won’t come up until her confirmation is assured. 

“She’s a priority for the White House,” Thune told the Washington Post. It’s the Federal Reserve. It’s important, so obviously we want to get it done. But we’re not going to bring it up until we have the votes to confirm her.”

Shelton has faced broad opposition from 77 alumni of the Federal Reserve, as well as 127 economists who signed an open letter opposing her nomination and expressed concern that her views could undermine the role of the Fed.

“She has advocated for a return to the gold standard; she has questioned the need for federal deposit insurance; she has even questioned the need for a central bank at all,” the letter writers said. “Now, she appears to have jettisoned all of these positions to argue for subordination of the Fed’s policies to the White House — at least as long as the White House is occupied by a president who agrees with her political views.”

Shelton was an appointed U.S. envoy to the , and an informal advisor to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

With a new Senate term set to begin on Jan. 3, and with several breaks scheduled, including a pre-election respite from Oct. 12 until Nov. 6, the window for her potential confirmation is closing.

--Additional reporting by Allie Ciaramella