GOP short of votes on Trump's controversial Fed pick

Senate Republican leaders don’t yet have 51 votes to confirm President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE’s controversial pick to the Federal Reserve, Judy Shelton, whose nomination is facing strong opposition from prominent economists.

Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSchumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff MORE (S.D.) said Tuesday that the leadership is still “working” on mustering majority support for Shelton, who has come under criticism for her past support for returning to the gold standard.

Thune raised the possibility that Shelton may not come to the floor before Election Day, which means her nomination would be in jeopardy if Trump doesn’t win reelection.

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Asked if Shelton would receive a vote before the Senate recesses for the election, Thune said: “We’ll see — as soon as she has 51 votes.”

“We’re still working it,” he said. “She’s a priority for the White House. It’s a Federal Reserve [position,] it’s important. So obviously we want to get it done but we’re not going to bring it up until we have the votes to confirm [her.]”

Shelton’s nomination to the Federal Reserve, which sets monetary policy for the nation, has faced Republican opposition since Trump announced the pick in January.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight MORE (R-Utah) announced in July he would oppose Shelton’s nomination.

“I will be voting against her,” he said July 23.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsLooking to the past to secure America's clean energy future Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike MORE (R-Maine), who faces a tough reelection race this fall, announced in July that she too would oppose Shelton.

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“I have serious concerns about this nomination,” she said in a statement July 27.

Collins criticized Shelton for calling for the Federal Reserve to be less independent of the White House and Congress.

Senate Republicans control 53 Senate seats and cannot afford any more than three defections. Vice President Pence could break a 50-50 tie to confirm Shelton.

A group of more than 100 prominent economists signed a letter last month urging senators to vote against Shelton, citing what they called her “extreme and ill-considered” views on monetary and economic policy. The list included seven Nobel laureates.

Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee including Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (Pa.) and Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE (Ala.) raised concerns earlier this year about Shelton’s past support for devaluing the dollar to encourage exports or returning to the gold standard.

Toomey warned in February that devaluing currencies to increase exports is “a very, very dangerous path to go down,” but later announced he would support Shelton after she provided him assurances in writing. Shelton promised she would oppose using monetary policy to weaken the dollar and that doing so is not in the Fed’s direct purview.

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), another member of the Banking panel, held up Shelton’s nomination for weeks to study her record.

Despite their concerns, all 13 Republicans on the Banking Committee voted to advance Shelton’s nomination in a party-line vote in late July.

Senate aides familiar with the nomination say that National Economic Council Director Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE has championed Shelton’s nomination but that it doesn’t have much support from within the Federal Reserve.