WASHINGTON – The top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee has said members of his party will boycott the board vote scheduled for Tuesday afternoon on President Joe Biden’s candidacy for the Federal Reserve, potentially postponing approval for a second term for Chairman Jerome Powell. in acting ability.
Democrats control the committee, but if no Republicans come to the session, voting on all five Fed candidates will be postponed.
Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania, a senior Republican on the committee, said his fellow Republicans want more information on one of the nominees, Sarah Bloom Ruskin, for her role on the board of a company that received coveted Fed approval after she joined to the firm. Tumi said Republican committee members are ready to vote for Biden’s four other candidates.
“Important questions about Ms. Ruskin’s use of the ‘back door’ remain unanswered, largely because of her repeated tricks,” Tumi said in a statement. “Her suitability for service, her opinion and her honesty are of paramount importance because Ms. Ruskin is being considered for a 10-year term by the country’s independent central bank and chief financial officer.”
Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who chairs the committee, condemned Tumi’s actions, which Brown said could put the economy at risk.
“If my colleagues are as concerned about inflation as they say, they will stop dramatizing and show up today to do their job for the American people,” Brown said. “Any action to postpone this vote will harm the workers, their families and our recovery.”
On Tuesday, the committee was to vote for Powell, Ruskin and Lael Brainard, a member of the Fed’s board, whom Biden nominated as vice chairman. There are also scheduled votes for economists Lisa Cook, who will be the first black woman to serve on the Fed, and Philip Jefferson, who will be the fourth black man.
Republicans have focused on Ruskin for her previous statements on the Fed and climate change, which Tumi and other Republican senators say will lead her to use Fed tools to deny loans to oil and gas companies.
After previously serving as Fed governor and deputy finance minister, Ruskin joined the board of the Reserve Trust, a tech company that in 2016 applied for a “main account” with the Fed. Such an account will allow the company to transfer money using the Fed’s payment systems without going through the bank. In mid-2017, the company’s application was rejected.
However, the company re-applied and received approval the following year from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Ruskin contacted the Kansas City Fed in 2017 after the company’s application was denied.
The Kansas City Fed in a letter last week said it had approved the Reserve Trust’s second bid because the company had changed its business model.
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