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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 MooreStates push back against federal unemployment policies delaying economic recovery Former Trump economic adviser to Biden: 'Stop taxing. Stop spending. Stop borrowing.' trillion in taxes, trillion in spending, trillion in borrowing — what could go wrong? MORE, President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care 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 ErnstOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Meghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US MORE (R-Iowa) told reporters she’s "not enthused" by Moore’s expected nomination.

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office 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 MurkowskiCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Trump endorses Murkowski challenger 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 KudlowLarry 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 StephanopoulosFacebook VP says 2-year suspension of Trump from platform 'justified' Commerce secretary on cyberattacks against corporations: 'This is the reality' Collins 'optimistic' Jan. 6 commission can pass Senate with modifications 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 RomneyCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? 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.