Raskin nomination for Fed in peril as Democrat opposes pick

Sarah Bloom Raskin, a nominee to be the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors vice chair for supervision, speaks during the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, in Washington. (Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said Monday that he opposes the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to a key position on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, endangering her prospects of winning Senate confirmation.

Raskin’s nomination has been stuck in the Senate Banking Committee after Republicans last month unanimously refused to vote on it, to prevent her being approved on a party-line vote. Manchin is not a member of the committee. But his opposition means that for Raskin to win approval, she would need to pick up a Republican vote in the Senate.

Committee Republicans, led by Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, have opposed Raskin on the grounds that she has been an outspoken supporter of having the Fed consider the threat to climate change in its regulation of banks. President Joe Biden has nominated Raskin to serve as the Fed’s vice chair for supervision, a top financial regulatory post.

Toomey has asserted that Raskin would seek to use the Fed’s regulatory authority to discourage banks from lending to oil and gas drilling companies. Raskin denied that in a February hearing. But Manchin, who has long been a strong advocate for energy companies, expressed similar concerns.

“Her previous public statements have failed to satisfactorily address my concerns about the critical importance of financing an all-of-the-above energy policy to meet our nation’s critical energy needs,” the senator said. “I have come to the conclusion that I am unable to support her nomination.”

In response, a White House official said the administration still supports Raskin, calling her “one of the most qualified people to have ever been nominated” for the Fed’s board. She previously served on the board from 2010-2014 and as deputy Treasury secretary.

“We are working to line up the bipartisan support that she deserves, so that she can be confirmed by the Senate for this important position,” said the official, who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.

Four other Biden nominees to the Fed’s board are also on hold because of the committee Republicans’ boycott of a vote on Raskin. Biden has nominated Chair Jerome Powell to serve a second four-year term; Powell is now serving as acting chair. The president has also nominated Lael Brainard, a Fed governor, for the central bank’s No. 2 post, and economists Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson for positions on the board.