White House criticizes GOP for blocking Biden Fed nominees amid inflation

The Federal Reserve is seen from the Washington Monument on Friday, September 24, 2021.
Greg Nash

The White House on Wednesday criticized GOP senators for blocking President Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve, arguing the move would exacerbate inflation. 

“[Biden] agrees that Republicans are AWOL on the fight against inflation at this pivotal moment in our economy. Everyone understands we need a full Federal Reserve board, the first one in nearly a decade, to tackle inflation and bring prices down for American families,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has said he would delay votes until Republicans agreed to consider all five of Biden’s picks, including Sarah Bloom Raskin, who Republicans are opposing. 

“Absolutely,” Psaki said when asked if the White House is backing that strategy. She added that she was in the Oval Office when Biden spoke to Brown.

“I can confirm, not that there was any doubt, that he conveyed exactly that to the senator,” she said.

Each of the 12 Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee boycotted a hearing on Tuesday, when the panel was set to vote on five nominees to the central bank. Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.), the top Republican on the panel, moved to block the votes on the nominees because Raskin, who was nominated to be the Fed’s regulatory chief, is on the slate. 

“We are not advocating for splitting the nominees. We support Chairman Brown’s decision to keep all five on the Fed board, pushing them forward through the committee. We believe Republicans need to do their jobs and show up to vote for these nominee,” Psaki said.

When asked how likely the White House thinks it is that there will be a vote by the end of the month, Psaki pointed to Brown, saying he can be “quite a bulldog when he wants to get something done.”

“All we’re asking is for Republicans to show up and do their jobs. They can vote against people but not showing up is not delivering on the commitment you made to the American people when they elected you,” she said. 

Toomey said that Republicans are fine with advancing Biden’s other four Fed nominees, who include Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, Fed Vice Chair nominee Lael Brainard and Fed board nominees Lisa Cook and Phillip Jefferson.

“I think there’s no question that having a full Federal board fighting inflation at a time when that is the stated number one concern of many Republicans, many Democrats, and many in the American public would be the ideal scenario here,” Psaki said when asked about if the Fed could work in full strength without all five nominees confirmed.

Psaki on Tuesday called the Republicans’ boycott of the nominees “a very extreme step” and “totally irresponsible” amid surging inflation.

Tags Federal Reserve Jen Psaki Jerome Powell Joe Biden Pat Toomey Sarah Bloom Raskin Sherrod Brown

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