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 MooreTrump urged to quickly fill Pentagon post amid Iran tensions Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Trump says Shanahan out as Defense secretary nominee MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer Joint Chiefs chairman: 'The last thing in the world we need right now is a war with Iran' Pence: 'We're not convinced' downing of drone was 'authorized at the highest levels' Trump: Bolton would take on the whole world at one time 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 ErnstGOP frets about Trump's poll numbers GOP senators caught off guard by Shanahan withdrawal Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate MORE (R-Iowa) told reporters she’s "not enthused" by Moore’s expected nomination.

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoPress beat lawmakers to keep trophy in annual softball game Bipartisan senators propose forcing EPA to set drinking water standard for 'forever chemicals' August recess under threat as yearly spending bills pile up 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 MurkowskiGOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks Overnight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial The 7 GOP senators who voted to block all or part of Trump's Saudi arms sale 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 StephanopoulosTrump to appear on 'Meet the Press' for first time as president Trump shows off Air Force One model in Oval Office The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Tensions flare after Iran shoots down US drone 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 RomneyDemocratic challenger leads Tillis by 1 point in North Carolina poll The Memo: Can Trump run as an outsider? Romney jokes about his multiple houses while arguing against tying lawmaker pay to budget 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.