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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 MooreAs nation freezes, fossil fuels are keeping the lights and heat on Economist Moore says he's not sure US needs 'massive stimulus bill' Sunday shows - Trump's COVID-19 relief bill opposition dominates MORE, President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm 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 ErnstBill to shorten early voting period, end Election Day early in Iowa heads to governor's desk We know how Republicans will vote — but what do they believe? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE (R-Iowa) told reporters she’s "not enthused" by Moore’s expected nomination.

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Biden's unity effort falters Capito asks White House to allow toxic chemicals rule to proceed 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 MurkowskiMurkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Senate GOP whip: Murkowski's vote on Tanden is 'fluid' at the moment 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 StephanopoulosKhashoggi colleague: 'Why are we making an alliance with a dictator?' Fauci on Johnson & Johnson vaccine: 'Just be really grateful' Portman on Trump's dominance of GOP: Republican Party's policies are 'even more popular' 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 RomneyOn The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend Kinzinger: Trump just wants to 'stand in front of a crowd and be adored' 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.