Senate GOP women pose obstacle for Moore as Fed pick

Senate GOP women pose obstacle for Moore as Fed pick
© Greg Nash

Women in the Senate Republican Conference are looming as a potential obstacle for Stephen MooreStephen MooreOn The Money: Trump seeks to shift spotlight from impeachment to economy | Appropriators agree to Dec. 20 funding deadline | New study says tariffs threaten 1.5M jobs Trump tax adviser floats middle-class cuts ahead of 2020 Sunday shows - Next impeachment phase dominates MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE’s expected nominee to serve on the Federal Reserve Board.

Two female GOP senators on Monday voiced concerns about Moore’s controversial writings on women, raising questions about whether he can win confirmation if he is formally nominated.

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Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Democratic challenger to Joni Ernst releases ad depicting her as firing gun at him Republicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members MORE (R-Iowa) told reporters she’s "not enthused" by Moore’s expected nomination.

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoCongress braces for chaotic December The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Trump calls into 'Fox & Friends,' talks impeachment MORE (R-W.Va.) said Moore's "public statements probably need to be further vetted, like 'you can’t have women referees.' C’mon."

Meanwhile, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days The Hill's Morning Report - Dem impeachment report highlights phone records Republicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members MORE (R-Alaska) said, "I’m still doing my research on him."

Asked if she had any reservations, Murkowski told reporters, "Just the reservations that you guys have put out there."

"I’ll have to figure out how much is there. So, he’s written a lot and said a lot, so there’s a lot there," she added.

Republicans control 53 Senate seats and can afford no more than three defections, as Vice President Pence would break any 50-50 tie. There are eight women in the Senate GOP conference.

The White House weighed in earlier on the controversy surrounding Moore's writings.

"Certainly we're reviewing those comments, and when we have an update on that front we'll let you know," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Monday.

Later in the day, top White House economic adviser Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE said the White House continues to back Moore for the position.

"We’re still behind him, and he’s going through the process of vetting," Kudlow told reporters.

Moore argued as recently as 2014 in the National Review, a conservative publication, that "it could be disruptive to family stability" if women earn more than men. Years earlier, he remarked that women should be barred from refereeing men’s basketball games unless they are physically attractive.

He also said that female athletes, such as tennis players, who ask to be paid as much as men are demanding "equal pay for inferior work."

Moore has downplayed some of those remarks as attempts at humor and has said he's "apologetic."

"These articles you’re talking about were 17, 18 years ago. They were humor columns, but some of them weren’t funny, so I am apologetic," he told ABC’s "This Week with George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosImpeachment can't wait Biden reverses, says marijuana isn't a gateway drug Democrats look to next steps in impeachment MORE" on Sunday.

Trump’s other desired pick to serve on the Fed board, 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, withdrew his name from consideration earlier this month after four Republican senators said they would likely vote against him.

Other GOP senators said they are withholding judgment of Moore, noting he hasn’t been formally nominated.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyImpeachment can't wait Republicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in MORE (R-Utah), an outspoken Trump critic who led the charge to stop Cain’s nomination to the Fed, said he is reviewing Moore’s writings.

"I hope that people who go on the Fed are economists and not partisan, and I’m reviewing his record, his columns and so forth," Romney said.

Moore is a well-known conservative commentator who co-founded the Club for Growth, a group that advocates for supply-side economic policy. Unlike many Fed officials, he doesn’t have a doctorate in economics.