WASHINGTON — Sarah Bloom Raskin’s nomination to become the top bank regulator at the Federal Reserve, already stalled by Republicans, was dealt a heavy blow on Monday after she lost the backing of a key senator from President Joe Biden’s party.
Raskin’s “previous public statements have 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,” Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, said in a statement.
“I have come to the conclusion that I am unable to support her nomination to serve as a member of the Federal Reserve Board,” he said.
Raskin is the most contentious of Biden’s five nominees to the Fed’s Board of Governors. The Democratic president also has nominated Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a second term as head of the US central bank.
Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee reviewing the nominations have refused to appear for a vote on the slate, saying Raskin’s past remarks indicate she would use the role to further a green energy policy that they fear could reduce fossil fuel companies’ access to capital.
After Manchin’s statement, the White House signaled it was sticking with her and was trying to line up Republican support. With Manchin casting a thumbs down on her nomination, Raskin would need to win over at least one Republican in the evenly divided US Senate to have a hope of being confirmed.
Manchin’s announcement “probably” ends her nomination “as a practical matter,” Senator Pat Toomey, the Senate Banking Committee’s top Republican, told Bloomberg TV.
“I’m not aware of any Republican support for Ms. Raskin,” Toomey said.
Manchin, who represents the country’s second-biggest coal producer and one that voted overwhelmingly for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, has been a persistent roadblock for Biden administration initiatives in Congress.
“Sarah Bloom Raskin is one of the most qualified people to have ever been nominated for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors,” a White House official said. “We are working to line up the bipartisan support that she deserves, so that she can be confirmed by the Senate for this important position.”
A spokesperson for Democrat Sherrod Brown, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, noted that Raskin had previously won Republican support when the Senate confirmed her as a Fed governor and later in the No. 2 role at the Treasury Department.
Powell, expected this week to announce the first in a series of interest rate hikes to combat soaring inflation, has broad bipartisan support. Several Republicans have also said they will vote to confirm a second Fed nominee, Davidson College’s Philip Jefferson.
Toomey on Monday told Bloomberg TV he would vote against Biden’s pick for Fed vice chair, current Fed Governor Lael Brainard, as well as against Michigan State University’s Lisa Cook, who if seated would be the first Black female Fed governor ever. (Reporting by Susan Heavey, Dan Burns, Katharine Jackson and Andrea Shalal; Writing by Ann Saphir; Editing by Caitlin Webber, Chizu Nomiyama, Cynthia Osterman and Paul Simao)