Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) interrogates Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chairman of the Powell Federal Reserve during hearings in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs under the CARES Act in the Hart Senate office building in Washington, DC, September 20, September 20.
Kevin Ditch | Swimming pool Reuters
A boycott of Republicans on Tuesday delayed a vote in the Senate committee on the appointment of top banking regulator and chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell.
Senator Sherrod Brown, head of the Senate Banking Committee, said the group could not hold a formal vote because the absence of the Republican Party means the lack of the necessary quorum. The vote was to send out the names of Powell, Sarah Bloom Ruskin, who was nominated by President Joe Biden as Fed overseer, and three other candidates.
“I will postpone the vote on these nominees. We will let you know when we are postponed,” Brown said Tuesday afternoon. “Republicans came out of the American people.”
After the announcement, Brown held an unofficial vote to convince Democrats to support the presidential candidates. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Said she supported all candidates except incumbent Fed Chairman Powell.
The delay calls into question the confirmation of five Fed candidates, including Powell and potential Vice President Lael Brainard. Democrats hoped to vote for all five of them as a package, and Republican Powell balanced the original Democratic election, such as Ruskin. Biden has chosen two other candidates, Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson, for a seat on the Fed’s board of directors.
The postponement also comes at a busy time for the country’s central bank, which is expected to start raising interest rates in March to reassure Inflation has not been observed since the 1980s.
A member of the rating committee, Senator Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania, announced earlier in the day that The Republican Party will boycott the nomination vote due to concerns about Ruskin’s previous work at the Reserve Trust, a tech firm she worked for shortly after leaving the Obama administration.
The threat of a loud and protracted debate over Fed candidates who must be isolated from guerrilla politics could theoretically push the White House to abandon Ruskin. To date, the administration has backed its candidate and said there were several options better prepared than Ruskin to oversee the country’s financial campaigns.
“Sarah Bloom Ruskin is one of the most qualified people ever nominated for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board,” the White House said in an e-mail note Tuesday morning. “Despite her qualifications, Senators Pat Toomey and Cynthia Lamis have conducted unwarranted and unjust attacks on Ruskin over the past few weeks due to her being on the Reserve Trust’s board of directors.”
“If our fellow Republicans were as concerned about inflation as they claim, and certainly we are, they would come to a markup and make sure the Fed has staff who can ultimately pursue a monetary policy that can curb inflation, ”said Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.
Darin Miller, a Lummis spokesman, said he lacked criticism. Senator of Wyoming was the first to ask Ruskin about her work at the Reserve Trust during hearings on her nomination earlier in February.
“Democrats attacking Banking Rs for inflation, trying to get the hyperpolitical Ruskin to vote, are ridiculous,” Miller wrote on Twitter when Democrats announced a postponed vote. “If they cared about inflation, the fight over Ruskin would not be their top priority today – getting a vote for Powell, etc.”
Republicans of the Banking Committee have repeatedly criticized Ruskin and her previous work in the Reserve Trust.
Late last week Tumi said in a letter Ruskin lobbied Kansas City Fed President Esther George in 2017 advocate for the fintech company and its application for a special account with the central bank. Earlier, the Fed rejected the Reserve Trust’s request for special access to the central bank’s payment system.
At the time she called, Ruskin had just left her post as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, where she had worked after more than three years at the Fed as one of the executives.
After her personal intervention on behalf of the Fed, Kansas City approved the company’s second request for an account in 2018. The Kansas City Fed claims that its cancellation was not the result of Ruskin’s call and that it followed all the usual protocols when assessing the Trust’s second bid reserve.
Republicans, who say they want more time to check on Ruskin, do not believe her actions are illegal, but that it is a blatant example of a “revolving door” between politics and corporate interests. The revolving door model suggests that former government officials use their connections and influence in government to later lobby on behalf of the payout business.
Tumi cited these concerns in a statement Tuesday morning.
“Important questions about Ms. Ruskin’s use of the ‘back door’ remain unanswered, largely because of her repeated insincerity with the Committee,” Tumi said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“The Republican Committee is not seeking to postpone its vote. We are looking for answers,” he added.
Ruskin, who received shares in the Reserve Trust when she joined its board, sold her financial stake after leaving the company in 2019 for about $ 1.5 million.
The Reserve Trust’s exclusive main account remains the single largest selling point for potential customers. This is the first thing the company says about itself on the home page of its website.
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