Republicans block Senate vote on Biden nominees to the Fed, including Ga. native

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

WASHINGTON — Republicans on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee boycotted a scheduled meeting Tuesday, blocking the advancement of six of President Joe Biden’s nominees to protest one of them: Federal Reserve Board nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin.

The tactic resulted in an indefinite delay in the confirmations of all six, including Georgia native Lisa Cook, who would serve with Raskin on the Fed.

While Democrats showed up at the meeting and took a symbolic vote to recommend all six to the full Senate, it doesn’t count because the GOP boycott prevented the committee from reaching a quorum present to conduct business.

Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, the committee’s ranking member, had announced he and other Republicans would skip the committee meeting in protest of Raskin. She had not provided satisfactory answers to a list of questions, Toomey said, and he asked that Raskin’s name be removed from the bloc of nominees being considered.

“I told Chairman (Sherrod) Brown that Republicans would be very happy to proceed on votes for five of the six nominees that he’s scheduled,” Toomey told reporters before the meeting. “That as it happens, a majority of those five would pass with bipartisan majorities.”

Cook, who grew up in Milledgeville and currently serves as a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University, has faced criticism from conservatives about her background. But Toomey indicated she has the votes to be confirmed to serve as one of seven members of the Fed.

Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said he would not allow Republicans to cherry-pick the list of nominees up for discussion, adding that could give the minority party too much control over which Biden appointees proceed to confirmation.

He said he will continue to talk to Republicans in hopes they will reschedule the meeting and consider all six nominees, which includes Cook, Raskin, three others appointed to the Fed and a woman named to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

“They need to come in, do their jobs, vote however their conscience and their states want them to,” Brown said. “And let’s move on and get these people confirmed to an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.”