Outgoing President Donald Trump’s controversial pick for the U.S. Federal Reserve, his former economic adviser Judy Shelton, drew opposition from a third Republican senator even as the White House said it still expected the Senate to confirm her.
Tennessee's Lamar Alexander, a Republican, on Monday said he opposed Shelton's nomination, narrowing the margin of her support but likely not eliminating her chance at confirmation.
"I oppose the nomination of Judy Shelton because I am not convinced that she supports the independence of the Federal Reserve Board as much as I believe the Board of Governors should," Alexander said in a statement. "I don’t want to turn over management of the money supply to a Congress and a President who can’t balance the federal budget."
Trump's Republican party has a 53-47 majority in the current Senate, and even with Alexander joining colleagues Mitt Romney and Susan Collins in voting against Shelton, Vice President Mike Pence could cast a tie-breaking vote.
And it may not come to that: the Washington Post reported that Alexander will not be in Washington this week.
U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, speaking on the floor of the Senate on Monday, urged fellow Democrats to vote against "this terrible, terrible nomination."
The legislative body is expected to hold a procedural vote on Tuesday, followed by a vote on confirmation on Wednesday.
"Judy Shelton’s views are breathtakingly extreme and retrograde," said Schumer, a New York Democrat. "She actually seems to prefer the economic policies that foregrounded the Great Depression.” Schumer cited her open advocacy for a return to the gold standard, her criticisms of federal deposit insurance and her skepticism of the need for a central bank.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said Shelton was "exceptionally qualified" and had the full backing of the White House. "We expect she will be confirmed," he said in response to a query about Alexander's statement.