Nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin for Fed seat in doubt after Manchin opposition
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on CNN (screengrab)

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III will not support one of President Joe Biden’s picks to sit on the Federal Reserve Board, Sarah Bloom Raskin of Maryland, Manchin said Monday.

The announcement casts serious doubt on the chances of Senate confirmation for Raskin, who was a Fed governor from 2010 to 2014 and deputy Treasury secretary from 2014 to 2017. She is married to U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat.

Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia seen as the linchpin in the evenly divided U.S. Senate, highlighted a disagreement about energy policy in a statement announcing his opposition to her appointment.

“Her previous public statements have failed to satisfactorily address my concerns about the critical importance of financing an all-of-the-above energy policy to meet our nation’s critical energy needs,” the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee chairman said.

Manchin, whose family has financial interests in West Virginia’s coal industry, is often at odds with his party over policies meant to shift to less carbon-intensive forms of energy.

Biden tapped Raskin to be the Fed’s vice chair for supervision, the top banking regulator on the board.

Her confirmation was already held up by Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee, who refused to meet to consider her nomination, depriving the panel of the quorum needed to approve her.

Representatives for that committee’s chairman, Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

With Manchin in opposition, she would need at least one Republican vote on the Senate floor, but no Senate Republicans have publicly said they would support her.

The ranking GOP member on Senate Banking, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, said in a statement the panel’s Republicans are ready to vote on the other four nominations to the Fed.

Toomey echoed Manchin’s reservations about Raskin’s position that the Fed should not invest in fossil fuel producers because climate change makes such investments riskier.

“As Senator Manchin suggested today, Ms. Raskin’s past advocacy for having the Federal Reserve allocate capital and discriminate against traditional energy companies would not only politicize the Fed, but weaken economic growth at a crucial moment in history,” he said.

In an email, a White House spokesperson said the administration was continuing to work on bipartisan support for Raskin, noting that she received votes from Republicans during her confirmation to other positions.

“Sarah Bloom Raskin is one of the most qualified people to have ever been nominated for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors,” the spokesperson said. “She has earned widespread support in the face of an unprecedented, baseless campaign led by oil and gas companies that sought to tarnish her distinguished career.”

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