Biden nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin withdraws bid for Federal Reserve post

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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell made clear Wednesday that the Fed will begin raising interest rates this month in a high-stakes effort to restrain surging inflation. (March 2)

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WASHINGTON –  Lacking a path for confirmation in the evenly divided Senate, Sarah Bloom Raskin withdrew Tuesday as President Joe Biden’s nominee to fill a top regulatory post at the Federal Reserve.

Raskin’s withdrawal as nominee for vice chair for supervision on the Federal Reserve Board comes one day after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced he opposed her nomination, effectively ending her chances. All Senate Republicans remained unified against Raskin’s confirmation, meaning the White House could not afford to lose a single Democrat.

“Despite her readiness – and despite having been confirmed by the Senate with broad, bipartisan support twice in the past – Sarah was subject to baseless attacks from industry and conservative interest groups,” Biden said in a statement that did not mention Manchin’s resistance.

He accused Senate Republicans of being “more focused on amplifying these false claims and protecting special interests than taking important steps toward addressing inflation and lowering costs for the American people.” 

Manchin opposition: Biden Fed nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin in peril after Manchin reveals opposition

Raskin, nominated by Biden in January, faced criticism from Republicans and Manchin for statements critical of the Fed’s support of fossil fuel companies without consideration of costs tied to climate change. 

In a 2020 New York Times op-ed, she wrote that climate change threatens financial stability and that the Fed should not “prop up and enrich” the “dying” fossil fuel industry. She argued the Fed is “ignoring clear warning signs about the economic repercussions of the impending climate crisis” by taking action that will increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Manchin, who hails from the country’s second-largest coal-producing state, said Raskin’s past statements “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.”

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Raskin’s nomination has been stuck in the Senate Banking Committee after Republicans did not show up for a February committee vote. The boycott prevented Democrats from getting a necessary quorum to advance Raskin and the nominations of four other Fed nominees, including Chairman Jay Powell, to the full Senate.

In a letter to Biden announcing her withdrawal, Raskin said she fears “many in and outside the Senate are unwilling to acknowledge the economic complications of climate change and the toll it has placed and will continue to place, on Americans.”

Raskin, a former deputy treasury secretary and member of the Federal Reserve Board from 2010 to 2014, said this is “not a novel or radical position.” She said she “would have welcomed the opportunity for this important discussion” had the boycotting senators not blocked her nomination from advancing. 

“There is hard and urgent work ahead for the Federal Reserve,” she said, adding that there will be no excuse for a continued boycott if she ends her confirmation bid. “With a heavy heart, I therefore hereby withdraw my candidacy.”

Even after Manchin revealed his opposition, the White House had remained defiant about pressing ahead to seek bipartisan support for Raskin’s confirmation, praising her credentials and highlighting her prior Senate confirmations for Federal Reserve posts.

Raskin is married to Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. The seven-member Federal Reserve Board of Governors oversees the central bank of the U.S. and sets the nation’s monetary policy.

Biden’s other Federal Reserve Board nominees are Lael Brainard, Philip Jefferson and Lisa Cook. The president urged the Senate Banking Committee to “move swiftly” to move their nominations forward.

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

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