Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed
President Trump on Sunday renominated Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve, attempting to fill the final vacant seat on the central bank’s board just weeks before he is set to leave office.
Trump renewed Shelton’s nomination on the first day of the new Congress after she failed to muster enough support for confirmation last year. Unconfirmed presidential nominations automatically expire at the end of a session of Congress.
Shelton’s renomination is the first step in a last-ditch push by Trump to add a controversial ally to the Fed board. If Republicans can defend both of Georgia’s two Senate seats in Jan. 5 runoff elections, Shelton may have enough support to be confirmed before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in Jan. 20.
The Senate is divided between 51 Republicans and 48 Democrats pending the results of the Georgia runoffs. All Democratic senators and GOP Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Susan Collins (Maine) oppose Shelton’s nomination, making one more GOP defection or a loss by Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) or former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) likely fatal to her bid.
Loeffler is serving out the remainder of former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term, which will last until either she or Warnock are sworn in as his successor. The Senate seat Perdue held until Sunday is vacant and will remain so until the winner of his race with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff is sworn in.
Shelton, a former Trump campaign adviser, was first nominated to the Fed in January 2019 and came remarkably close to confirmation in December. Despite opposition from three GOP senators, she appeared on track to be confirmed until coronavirus-related absences allowed Democrats to defeat a motion to end debate on her nomination.
The swearing-in of Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) to succeed former GOP Sen. Martha McSally on Nov. 30 left Republicans without enough votes to confirm Shelton for the remainder of 2020.
But the replacement of retired Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) — who opposed Shelton’s nomination — by first-term Sen. Bill Hagerty (R) may give Shelton enough votes to be confirmed this month if no other Republican breaks from Trump.
Shelton’s confirmation would prevent Biden from filling the last vacant seat on the seven-person Fed board of governors and give Trump an ally within the Fed should he run for reelection and win another term in 2024.
Shelton has been widely criticized by former Fed officials economists across the ideological spectrum for her inconsistent views on monetary policy, controversial proposals and closeness to Trump.