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 MoorePresident Trump is right: Mainstream media 'do a very good job' Immigrants should not be on welfare Trumponomics is no flop MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated 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 ErnstAir Force probe finds no corroboration of sexual assault allegations against Trump pick Gun control activists set to flex muscle in battle for Senate Businesses, farmers brace for new phase in Trump trade war MORE (R-Iowa) told reporters she’s "not enthused" by Moore’s expected nomination.

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction On The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Trump border fight throws curveball into shutdown prospects 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 MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief Congress kicks bipartisan energy innovation into higher gear 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 allies defend attacks on Cummings amid Democratic denunciations De Blasio: Democratic debates should address 'why did we lose and what do we do differently' Nadler: Resolution condemning Trump's Cummings tweets 'wouldn't be a bad idea' 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 RomneyA US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces 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.