The Shelton Fed nomination will fail the Senate course of and should finish its probabilities
Judy Shelton’s controversial nomination for the Federal Reserve suffered a potentially fatal blow in an important procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday.
The upper chamber voted 50-47 against a move that would have pushed the nomination by limiting debate, typically a death penalty, because the opposition could simply prevent the vote from ever reaching full center.
The only way for Shelton would be if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could get at least 50 votes together. After the vote, McConnell tried to protect his right to re-submit Shelton’s name for consideration.
In the event of a 50:50 split, Vice President Mike Pence would be urged to break the tie.
Trying to reconsider would be made difficult by the fact that Republicans would lose a Senate seat if Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly takes Martha McSally’s place after Thanksgiving. That would mean a Shelton vote would probably have to take place by next week.
In a strict parliamentary move, McConnell voted against the motion to bring the nomination back up.
The vote took place amid extremely partisan politics, with the coronavirus pandemic also playing a role.
Though only last week it looked like the GOP had enough votes to get Shelton through, there are at least three defectors – Mitt Romney from Utah, Susan Collins from Maine, and Lamar Alexander from Tennessee. Additionally, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rick Scott (R-Florida) will be quarantined due to exposure to Covid-19.
Shelton’s views on Fed independence, the gold standard, and bank deposit guarantees have brought her into conflict with many Democratic senators and some on the Republican side. Their vote in the finance committee was carried out according to strict party lines.
“In her previous statements, Ms. Shelton has called for the Federal Reserve to be less branch-independent and has even questioned the need for a central bank,” Collins said in a statement. “This is not the right signal, especially in the middle of the pandemic.”
Shelton is a former economic advisor to President Donald Trump.
Among those who joined the Democrats to vote on the procedural vote was Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, who remains a California Senator for the time being.
Combined with the party divisions and possible absences, the Democrats could have enough votes to block the Shelton nomination. Alexander wasn’t present either. Grassley has not missed a vote since 1993, the longest such series in Senate history.