[guest post by JVW]
Dominic Pino at NRO reports:
Los Angeles Times congressional reporter Jennifer Haberkorn says that Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) will not support Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Biden’s nominee for the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman of supervision. “Her previous public statements have failed to satisfactorily address my concerns about the critical importance of financing an all-of-the-above energy policy,” Manchin said.
This comes a few days after Manchin said he supports a proposed deal from Senate Banking Committee ranking member Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) in which Republicans would allow four other Biden nominees to clear the committee in exchange for blocking Raskin.
Concerns over Raskin stem from her long record of advocating the usage of financial regulation to enact climate policy. In a January 2021 Financial Times article, she argued that “this is the time for the US to use its financial regulatory apparatus . . . to support and guide the market’s need for a reassessment of asset values.” The reassessment she had in mind involved allowing “US financial agencies to lend the strength of their diverse mandates in solving overlapping economic, health and climate crises.”
This standoff now becomes a game of chicken between Democrats, led by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown of Ohio with the backing of the Biden White House, and Senator Toomey along with, it would appear, unanimous backing of his GOP colleagues (thank God Lisa Murkowski is up for reelection this year). The GOP has offered to approve the remaining four nominees, including Jerome Powell as Fed Chairman, in return for Ms. Raskin being held over for “more questioning” which appears to be Washingtonese for never getting a vote. Thus far Sen. Brown has refused to comply, demanding a vote on the entire slate, but the defection of Sen. Manchin now seems to foreclose any chance of that happening.
In addition to opposing Ms. Raskin’s willingness to use the central banking system to push progressive energy policies — for instance by making it harder for fossil fuel companies to borrow money in emergencies — Republicans also point to her past lobbying of the Fed on behalf of a company on whose board she sat and the failure of her husband, Democrat Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, to accurately report the couple’s stock holdings in his mandatory financial disclosures. With the Biden Administration being desperate to combat inflation, or at least appear to the American public that they are trying to do so, it will be interesting to see how quick they are to cut Ms. Raskin loose in order to move forward.
But bravo to Sen. Toomey and the Senate GOP for reminding Democrats that in a 50-50 Senate the Biden Administration is not going to get its way 100% of the time.