An economist tapped by President Donald Trump to join the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors narrowly survived a procedural vote on Thursday, advancing his nomination to the full US Senate.
The 13-12 party-line vote by the Senate Banking Committee suggests Republicans may have difficulty corralling enough votes to confirm Marvin Goodfriend to a seat at the Fed.
A conservative professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University, Goodfriend has faced stiff opposition from Democrats who say he is not sufficiently concerned with fighting unemployment.
In confirmation hearings last month, Goodfriend struggled to defend prior predictions, which were never borne out, of runaway inflation during the recovery from 2008-2010 Great Recession.
"We can't take a chance on someone with a decade-long record of prioritizing hypothetical inflation over real people losing real jobs," Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the committee's ranking Democrat, said prior to Thursday's vote.
Brown also said Goodfriend supported deregulation efforts that would favor large banks who have harmed their customers and the economy.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a Republican, on Thursday announced his intention to oppose Goodfriend's nomination, leaving it precariously balanced in the full Senate.
With Arizona Republican John McCain currently battling cancer and Paul opposed, a single additional Republican "no" vote could sink the nomination.