ICYMI: On Senate Floor, Warren Calls Out Republicans Holding Up Historic Slate of Federal Reserve Nominees
Senator Warren: “The Republicans are also launching bad faith attacks about ethics without the facts to back them up. If we’re going to discuss ethics, then let’s be clear – Professor Raskin has voluntarily committed to the strongest ethics standards and post-employment limitations of any nominee to the Federal Reserve, ever. In fact, each of these nominees has voluntarily committed to stronger ethics standards, except one – Jerome Powell.”
Watch the Floor Remarks HERE
Washington, D.C. — Today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) delivered remarks on the Senate floor, calling out Republicans on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee for holding up a vote on President Biden’s historic slate of nominees to the Federal Reserve over objections to one of the nominees, Professor Sarah Bloom Raskin.
Despite Professor Raskin previously receiving unanimous Senate confirmation to serve as Governor of the Federal Reserve and as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Republicans are launching bad-faith attacks in a desperate attempt to obstruct her nomination to be Vice Chair for Supervision, which regulates the biggest financial institutions in the country.
Senator Warren called out Republicans’ hypocrisy in their united support behind Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s renomination, given his role in presiding over the biggest ethics scandal in Federal Reserve history and his refusal to commit to stronger ethics standards. Republicans are also attacking Professor Raskin’s stance on the Fed’s obligation to combat climate change, even though her statements align with Chair Powell.
Senator Warren secured historic ethics commitments from Professor Sarah Bloom Raskin, Dr. Lisa Cook, Dr. Phillip Jefferson, and Vice Chair Lael Brainard.
Watch Senator Warren’s full remarks HERE.
Thank you, Madame President, I rise today regarding President Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve.
I just came from the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, where we met in order to advance an extraordinary group of candidates who were nominated to the Federal Reserve. As our nation’s top economic policymakers, these nominees will be charged with steering our country through one of the most difficult environments the Fed has faced in many years. But Republicans have decided to block any attempt for the Banking Committee to consider this group. Why? Because they object to one of the nominees, whom they have pummeled with some particularly desperate attacks.
Professor Sarah Bloom Raskin will bring deep experience to the role of the Fed’s Vice Chair for Supervision. During the height of the 2008 financial crisis, she was on the front lines as the State of Maryland’s top financial regulator. As our country slogged through the aftermath of the crisis, Professor Raskin was a Governor of the Federal Reserve, facing difficult policy decisions as she worked to help families rebuild. She then served as Deputy Treasury Secretary, helping to shepherd our nation through the post-crash economic expansion, an expansion that has turned out to be the longest on record – right up until the pandemic struck. Professor Raskin has unparalleled expertise in both the monetary policy and financial regulatory components of the job. Few people in the entire nation are as qualified for this role as she is.
Now I understand that Republicans are launching hysterical attacks on her over climate issues – Never mind that her views align with those of the rest of the nominees. Never mind that she has a history of sound judgment at the Fed. Never mind that community bankers have spoken glowingly of how well she worked with them during a time of great stress. Never mind anything.
The Republicans are also launching bad faith attacks about ethics without the facts to back them up. If we’re going to discuss ethics, then let’s be clear – Professor Raskin has voluntarily committed to the strongest ethics standards and post-employment limitations of any nominee to the Federal Reserve, ever. In fact, each of these nominees has voluntarily committed to stronger ethics standards, except one – Jerome Powell.
That’s right – Republicans on the Banking Committee are united in voting for the only one of the five Fed nominees we are considering today who has refused to voluntarily commit to stronger ethics standards. This is particularly hypocritical because Chair Powell is currently presiding over the biggest ethics scandal in the Fed’s more-than century-long history.
We should recognize these attacks on Professor Raskin for what they are. There’s no actual concern about Professor Raskin’s ethics, or about her extraordinary qualifications. No. These are bad-faith attempts to take down a highly qualified candidate who is committed to actually doing the job of regulating the biggest financial institutions.
Let’s be absolutely clear about what is happening here. When President Biden decided to renominate Jerome Powell to run the Federal Reserve, he did so over the objections of myself and others who believe that a Trump Republican, who is a lifelong Wall Street banker, and whose record clearly demonstrates an allergy to financial regulation, is a dangerous choice for Fed chair. I lost that argument, and the President instead extended an olive branch to all of the Republicans in this chamber who urged the Democratic President to let the Republican Jay Powell stay on.
And what has been the Republican response to that olive branch? They’re lighting the branch on fire. The Republican minority is getting their preferred Federal Reserve chair, a member of their party, but they won’t support the President’s extraordinarily qualified Vice Chair for Supervision. Instead, the Republicans are smearing her daily with unfounded accusations and ugly innuendo. And now they’re threatening to break the Senate by using a loophole to blow up the process we all agreed on last year for how to deal with nominees in this closely divided Senate. The Republicans lack the votes to block this nomination from going forward, so they now refuse to participate in the process they previously agreed to follow, in the hopes that they can prevent a nominee with majority support from getting a confirmation vote.
If Republican Senators want to boycott the Raskin nomination, that is their choice. But Democrats are the majority in this body, and we can choose how to respond. Republicans who want to vote against Raskin are free to do so, just as I intend to vote against Powell. But we should not reward this effort to block nominees with majority support from even receiving votes. Every one of these five nominees to the Fed should move together and should get votes on the floor of the Senate. And if Republicans refuse to abide by the spirit of the agreement they made last year, then it is up to Democrats to enforce it.
We need to advance all five of President Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve – and we need to do it now.
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