Sen. Joe Manchin III, a Democrat from West Virginia, said Monday that he wouldn’t vote to confirm Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Joe Biden’s nominee to become vice chairman of supervision at the Federal Reserve.
Manchin’s break with the president is a significant blow to Raskin’s confirmation chances in a Senate split evenly at 50-50. She already faces opposition from Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee, who declined to show up for a confirmation vote, thus denying the panel a quorum at the Feb. 15 meeting.
Manchin said his concerns about Raskin’s statements that the Fed should exclude struggling energy companies from government relief precluded him from voting to confirm her. He also cited the energy price hikes resulting in part from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I have carefully reviewed Sarah Bloom Raskin’s qualifications and previous public statements,” Manchin said. “Her previous public statements have failed to satisfactorily address my concerns about the critical importance of financing an all-of-the-above energy policy to meet our nation’s critical energy needs. I have come to the conclusion that I am unable to support her nomination to serve as a member of the Federal Reserve Board.”
Manchin was in the Senate when it confirmed her by voice vote on March 12, 2014, to be deputy Treasury secretary. He wasn’t yet in the Senate when she was confirmed for a Fed position in 2010. Raskin is married to Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.
Manchin’s announcement is also a blow to Biden’s hopes to reshape the Fed’s governance and authority. Senate Democrats could still find a path to getting her confirmed, but they would need at least one Senate Banking Republican to provide a quorum by attending a committee vote and at least one Republican on the floor to back her.
Senate Banking Democrats staged a vote for Raskin and other Fed nominees last month even as they acknowledged it was meaningless.
Biden nominated Raskin to be the Fed’s vice chair for supervision, a position that would allow her to set the Fed’s regulatory agenda. Republicans have criticized her views on climate change and her involvement with Reserve Trust, a Colorado-based financial technology company that was granted a Federal Reserve master account while she was on the company’s board of directors.
Manchin’s objections to Raskin come as part of the political fallout from rising energy prices and gasoline costs.
“At this historic moment for both the United States and the world at large, it is imperative the Federal Reserve Board preserves its independence and steers clear of any hint of partisanship,” he said.