Trump's controversial Fed nominee stalled after Senate setback

Judy Shelton’s Federal Reserve Board nomination failed to advance on Tuesday after coronavirus-related quarantines sidelined some Republican senators and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris's uncle discusses COVID-19 surge in India: 'The conditions are pretty bad' Updating the aging infrastructure in Historically Black Colleges and Universities Bowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' MORE returned to the upper chamber to provide a crucial “no” vote.

Senators voted 47-50 to end debate on Shelton’s nomination, falling short of the simple majority needed. In a boon to Democrats, Harris, a Democratic senator from California, voted against Shelton’s nomination, preventing a tie.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' McConnell alma mater criticizes him for 1619 comments McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' MORE (R-Ky.) initially voted "yes" but with Shelton stuck at 48-49, he switched his vote, making the final tally 47-50. The move allows him to bring the nomination back up, something he immediately laid the groundwork to do. 


The setback comes only days after President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE's controversial pick appeared to be on a glide path to be confirmed to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors when Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee Trump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan Trump drama divides GOP, muddling message MORE (R-Alaska) said she would support her.

But two Republicans — Sens. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley asks Blinken to provide potential conflicts involving John Kerry Overnight Defense: Gillibrand makes new push for military sexual assault reform | US troops begin leaving Afghanistan | Biden budget delay pushes back annual defense policy bill Gillibrand makes new push for military sexual assault reform MORE (Iowa) and Rick Scott (Fla.) — are currently quarantined due to exposure to the coronavirus, throwing a late curveball into the Senate’s consideration of her nomination.

“We have some attendance issues, so it's a little bit fluid, I'd say, at the moment," said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneCheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women Trump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan The Memo: Trump's critics face wrath of GOP base MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, on Tuesday about Shelton.

Thune said that he believed Republicans would have the votes to confirm Shelton once senators were done quarantining, but added that “there is a little bit of a complicated factor in the Arizona seat." Sen.-elect Mark KellyMark KellyBowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' Manchin says he doesn't support DC statehood, election reform bills Manchin, Sinema filibuster support scores political points back home, GOP poll shows MORE (D-Ariz.) can be seated as soon as Nov. 30.

Three GOP senators are opposed to Shelton: Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts House to advance appropriations bills in June, July Manchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' MORE (Maine), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Florida's restrictive voting bill signed into law The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE (Utah) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderThe Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality MORE (Tenn.). Their opposition, combined with the quarantining, capped Shelton’s "yes" votes at 48.


Collins said shortly before the vote that she wouldn’t “pair” with an absent colleague, a procedural move that would offset their absence.

“I am very concerned about her position on the independence of the Fed and even questioning the need for a central bank, and for those reasons I cannot support her nomination and will vote no,” Collins said.

Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 Lobbying world MORE (R-Kan.) voted to end debate on her nomination on Tuesday but told reporters only hours earlier that he was undecided about confirming her.

Speculations swirled earlier Tuesday that Vice President Pence might be able to break a tie if Harris was absent, because that would have deadlocked the Shelton vote at 48-48.

But Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinAmerica's Jewish communities are under attack — Here are 3 things Congress can do Schumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction MORE (D-Ill.) said he had asked Harris to return. She was spotted fist-bumping with her colleagues, including Republican Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse to advance appropriations bills in June, July The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  The Memo: The GOP's war is already over — Trump won MORE (S.C.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottUpdating the aging infrastructure in Historically Black Colleges and Universities McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' The instructive popularity of Biden's 'New Deal' for the middle class MORE (S.C.), on the Senate floor during the Shelton vote.


Shelton was already facing a tight path to confirmation after being held in limbo for months due to bipartisan opposition over her previous support for returning to the gold standard and using interest rates as a tool to make U.S. exports more competitive.

If Shelton is confirmed, she would fill one of two vacant seats on the seven-person Fed board of governors. All but two of those seats have been filled by Trump, despite Senate Republicans rejecting four of his previous Fed picks.

--Updated at 4:35 p.m.