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Raskin withdraws as Biden’s Fed nominee – POLITICO – POLITICO

Four other nominees, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell, were also being held up because of the impasse over Raskin. Powell, chosen by Biden for a second term, is now serving as chair on an acting basis.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who hails from the second-biggest coal-producing state in the country, and moderate Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski had said Monday they would not support Raskin’s nomination, all but dooming her chances of confirmation. Raskin’s withdrawal was first reported by the New Yorker.

Raskin, a former Fed governor and deputy Treasury secretary during the Obama administration, had been confirmed twice before for those posts with no opposition from Republicans. But she faced blowback this time from GOP lawmakers and Manchin over her calls for regulators to more closely scrutinize bank lending to fossil fuel companies and help mitigate climate-related risks to the financial system.

“Their point of contention was my frank public discussion of climate change and the economic costs associated with it,” she wrote in a letter to Biden obtained by POLITICO. “It was – and is – my considered view that the perils of climate change must be added to the list of serious risks that the Federal Reserve considers as it works to ensure the stability and resiliency of our economy and financial system.”

While the financial industry raised no public objections to Raskin’s nomination, Republicans such as Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania expressed fear that she might pursue measures that would make it more expensive for banks to lend to oil companies. She wrote in an op-ed last September that regulators should “ask themselves how their existing instruments can be used to incentivize a rapid, orderly, and just transition away from high-emission and biodiversity-destroying investments.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, in a statement Tuesday said “too many of my colleagues” ignored the wide, bipartisan support Raskin enjoyed, and instead “fell for talking points written by the oil and gas industry.”

“Republicans engaged in a disingenuous smear campaign, distorting Ms. Raskin’s views beyond recognition and made unsubstantiated attacks on her character,” he said.

Toomey, the top Republican on the committee, said many Democrats are pushing for the central bank to go far beyond its role. The “bipartisan rejection” of Raskin’s nomination “sends a powerful message to the Fed, and to all financial regulators, that it is not their job to allocate capital or stray from their mission to pursue extraneous or politically charged campaigns.”

“The Biden administration should nominate in her place an individual who will focus exclusively on implementing the Fed’s statutory mandates of stable prices, full employment, and supervision of bank holding companies,” he said in the statement.

Raskin’s withdrawal is a further blow to the president’s efforts to fill financial regulatory jobs. Saule Omarova, Biden’s nominee to be the comptroller of the currency, which regulates national banks, withdrew last year following a bitter and at times nasty nomination fight that ended after several moderate Democrats made clear they could not support her confirmation. The agency is being run by Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu, and the White House has no immediate plans to announce a new nominee.

Progressives had high hopes for Raskin but may now be forced to choose between a more moderate nominee or risk being unable to fill the job at all if Republicans take back the Senate next year.

In the near term, Raskin’s withdrawal also likely breaks the logjam on Biden’s remaining Fed nominees at a critical time for the central bank, which is set to begin raising interest rates this week in a bid to fight surging inflation.

Powell’s first term as chair officially expired in February. Fed board member Lael Brainard is waiting to be confirmed to a promotion as Powell’s No. 2, while two other candidates — Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson — would fill vacant seats.

Biden urged the Senate to swiftly confirm the other Fed nominees. Brown said the committee would vote on the remaining four picks, but did not announce when.

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