The White House is worried about opposition from Senate Republicans to Judy Shelton, President Trump’s nominee for a spot on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, according to people familiar with the matter.
“Her nomination is imperiled right now,” said Stephen Moore, an outside economic adviser to Trump.
“The White House is really not sure they have the 50 votes in the Senate to confirm her,” Moore told the Washington Examiner. Moore met with Trump and multiple senior White House officials on Wednesday.
Shelton is not expected to get support from any of the 47 senators who are Democrats or independents. Now, there are concerns that she does not have enough support from Republicans to garner the 51 votes necessary for confirmation.
Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Republican whip, told reporters Tuesday that Shelton doesn’t have the votes needed for confirmation. Yet Trump’s National Economic Council director, Larry Kudlow, said Thursday at an event hosted by the Economic Club of New York that Trump remains firmly behind her nomination. Kudlow added that he thinks the White House can get the 50 Senate votes for her confirmation.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins, from Maine, and Mitt Romney from Utah said they would vote against her nomination in July. Moore said the White House is worried about other Republicans also voting against her, including Colorado’s Cory Gardner, who is up for reelection this year, and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.
Gardner and Murkowski did not respond to requests for comment.
An individual familiar with the matter said that Kudlow has been key in keeping Shelton’s nomination afloat.
“I was told she’s toast and the White House has to find somebody else to nominate,” a former senior administration official said. “But then, later in the day, she wasn’t toast anymore. Kudlow is her biggest supporter, and he will fight for her to the death.”
Shelton has generated opposition for her pointed criticisms of the Fed and her advocacy for a return to the gold standard as a monetary system.
In the past few months, her nomination faced several challenges after multiple Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee indicated her views made her unsuitable for a seat on the Fed’s board of governors.
She has raised concerns on both sides of the aisle for her view that the Fed should have less power and independent discretion and instead have closer ties to the White House.
Nevertheless, the Senate Banking Committee narrowly approved her nomination in a 13-12 party-line vote in July. Her nomination has now moved on to the full Senate. Trump formally nominated Shelton to the post in January of this year.
Moore, who is also an Washington Examiner opinion columnist, said the new opposition to Shelton is due to Democrats putting pressure on Republicans such as Gardner and Murkowski.
“The Left is really out to get her. They don’t want any independent thinkers on the Fed who are going to challenge the way the empire does business,” Moore said.
He added that he did not understand why Democrats cared enough about who is a member of the Fed to make Shelton’s nomination such a priority.
“Almost 99% of Americans don’t know who Judy Shelton is or who is on the Federal Reserve, so I find it amazing how she has become a political football,” said Moore.
Moore himself was nominated to the Fed by Trump but withdrew his name from consideration after coming under pressure for his economic and political views and controversial past statements. Moore’s withdrawal came less than two weeks after businessman Herman Cain also withdrew from Fed board contention because of opposition from multiple GOP senators.
The White House is standing behind Shelton, officially.
“President Trump is firmly behind his nomination of Judy Shelton, who is exceptionally qualified, to the Federal Reserve. Senate Democrats should stop playing politics and confirm the president’s nominee,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere.