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GOP short of votes on Trump's controversial Fed pick

Senate Republican leaders don’t yet have 51 votes to confirm President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit 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 ThuneDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump keeps tight grip on GOP amid divisions 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 RomneyWhoopi Goldberg blasts Republicans not speaking against Trump: 'This is an attempted coup' GSA offers to brief Congress next week on presidential transition Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks MORE (R-Utah) announced in July he would oppose Shelton’s nomination.

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

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Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWhoopi Goldberg blasts Republicans not speaking against Trump: 'This is an attempted coup' Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Team Trump offering 'fire hose' of conspiracy Kool-Aid for supporters MORE (R-Maine), who faces a tough reelection race this fall, announced in July that she too would oppose Shelton.

“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.

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Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee including Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (Pa.) and Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyTrump, Pelosi barrel toward final border wall showdown On The Money: Push for student loan forgiveness puts Biden in tight spot | Trump is wild card as shutdown fears grow | Mnuchin asks Fed to return 5 billion in unspent COVID emergency funds McConnell, Pelosi hunt for funding deal as shutdown deadline looms 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.