Third GOP senator comes out against controversial Trump Fed nominee

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.) said on Monday that he opposes Judy Shelton's nomination to the Federal Reserve board, but he won't be in Washington this week to vote against her.

“I oppose the nomination of Judy Shelton because I am not convinced that she supports the independence of the Federal Reserve Board as much as I believe the Board of Governors should. I don’t want to turn over management of the money supply to a Congress and a President who can’t balance the federal budget," Alexander said in a statement.

Alexander, who is retiring at the end of his term, is the third GOP senator to oppose Shelton. GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Collins urges Biden to revisit order on US-Canada border limits MORE (Maine) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyEx-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress Five takeaways from CPAC 2021 Trump shows he holds stranglehold on GOP, media in CPAC barnburner MORE (Utah) have also said they will vote against her.


But a spokesman for Alexander noted that he will be out of Washington, D.C., this week due to family matters, meaning he won't be in the Senate chamber to cast his vote.

Alexander's opposition comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump shows he holds stranglehold on GOP, media in CPAC barnburner Trump rules out starting a new party: 'Fake news' Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate MORE (R-Ky.) teed up a vote on Shelton's long-stalled nomination for this week. That vote is expected to take place Wednesday.

With Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiNew super PAC aims to support lawmakers who voted to impeach or convict Trump Kinzinger: GOP 'certainly not united' on 'vision for the future' Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents MORE (R-Alaska) announcing on Thursday that she would support Shelton's nomination, Trump's Federal Reserve pick appeared to be on a path to confirmation after being stuck in limbo for months. 

Shelton’s nomination faced fierce headwinds amid bipartisan opposition over her previous support for returning to the gold standard and using inflation as a tool to make U.S. exports more competitive.

Even as McConnell decided to move forward on her nomination, she has a razor-thin margin for getting confirmed with Republicans holding a 53-47 majority.

In addition to Alexander's absence, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) announced over the weekend that he would quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBrown vows Democrats will 'find a way' to raise minimum wage Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vs. Donald Trump: A serious comparison Exclusive: How Obama went to bat for Warren MORE also routinely misses Senate floor votes. A spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday about if she would return to Washington to vote against Shelton. 

If Alexander, Scott and Harris are absent, and everyone else votes, that would put Shelton's confirmation at 49-48, just over the simple majority required. If Harris returned to vote against Shelton's nomination, Vice President Pence could still break a 49-49 tie.