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Nov. 12, 2020, 3:59 p.m. EST

McConnell sets up vote on Fed board nominee Judy Shelton

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By Jonathan Nicholson

Armed with an endorsement from a Republican moderate, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved Thursday to set up a vote on controversial Federal Reserve nominee Judy Shelton.

McConnell included Shelton’s nomination to be a Fed board governor along with several judicial nominees he announced on the Senate floor he was moving forward with.

Shelton’s nomination has attracted outsized attention for a central banking pick because she has a long record of advocating for some form of a gold standard, which would tie the value of the U.S. dollar to the price of gold. Setting interest rates and controlling the money supply are primary functions of the Fed board.

Until the Great Depression destroyed the policy, central banks had used a gold standard to set monetary policy.

Shelton gained a key endorsement Thursday when Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, told reporters she would support the nomination.

“I have had plenty of time to look at it. I’ve had an opportunity to talk to Judy Shelton and I’m going to be supporting her,” Murkowski said.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said a vote on Shelton could come as soon as next week.

McConnell’s list did not include a second, non-controversial Fed nominee, Christopher Waller, head of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s economic research department.

Democrats have said Shelton’s views should disqualify her and doubts about her have slowed the nomination’s progress. She was voted out of committee in July but as recently as mid-September appeared short of the needed votes on the floor.

“We want to help her get through, but we’re still having some discussions. When it’s ripe, we’ll move,” Sen. John Thune, the South Dakota Republican who, as party whip, is the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, said in September .

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