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Senate GOP delays votes on Raskin and four other Fed nominees

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee boycotted a vote on Tuesday on United States (US) President Joe Biden’s five nominees to the Federal Reserve, delaying indefinitely the confirmation of Chair Jerome Powell to a second four-year term.

Democrats control the committee, but because no Republican attended the session, votes couldn’t take place under the panel’s rules.

The boycott stemmed from Republican opposition to former Fed governor and deputy Treasury secretary under former US president Barack Obama Sarah Bloom Raskin, whom Biden picked to be the Fed’s top banking regulator.

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, the senior Republican on the committee, argued that Raskin had provided insufficient answers about her work as a board member for a fintech firm. Toomey and other Republicans have asserted that Raskin inappropriately used her connections to the Fed to benefit the company.

Committee Republicans have also objected to Raskin’s past statements on climate change, in which she urged the Fed to consider risks to the financial system from weather disasters and other impacts of rising temperatures in its bank oversight. Toomey has charged that Raskin would use the Fed’s tools to discourage banks from lending to oil and gas companies.

Sarah Bloom Raskin speaking before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. PHOTO: AP