WASHINGTON ― Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced Monday he won’t support President Joe Biden’s nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, likey dooming her chances of confirmation.
Biden’s nominations of Raskin and two others to serve on the Federal Reserve Board have been stalled because of Republican opposition to Raskin. GOP members of the Senate Banking Committee have boycotted hearings on the nominations, citing Raskin’s past statements advocating for the Fed to be more proactive in addressing the financial risks posed by climate change.
Raskin, a former Fed governor and deputy treasury secretary, pledged in her confirmation hearing last month to be independent and to make it no more difficult for any industry to obtain bank loans, regardless of their impact on the climate.
Nevertheless, Republicans have refused to allow a committee vote on her nomination. Caught in the fray are Biden’s nominations of two other highly qualified and uncontroversial picks to serve on the Fed board. Neither has received votes in committee because Republicans refused to show up.
“I have carefully reviewed Sarah Bloom Raskin’s qualifications and previous public statements,” Manchin said in a statement on Monday. “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’s opposition makes it exceedingly difficult for Raskin, the wife of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), to be confirmed. Even if her nomination somehow received a vote in committee and proceeded to the full Senate floor, she would need the support of at least one Senate Republican to get the job, which isn’t likely.
The White House responded to Manchin’s announcement by calling Raskin “one of the most qualified people to have ever been nominated” for the Federal Reserve Board and said it was still “working to line up the bipartisan support that she deserves” to advance her nomination.
But Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who often votes for Biden nominees, said Monday she couldn’t support Raskin, either.
“I think it’s evident from Joe Manchin’s statement that there is not a path forward for her,” Collins added.
Still, Raskin’s supporters in Congress urged the White House not to give up on her nomination.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said it would be “a terrible mistake” if Raskin’s nomination was pulled, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) noted Raskin was twice confirmed previously by the Senate via unanimous votes.
Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Resources Committee, has long championed the coal and gas industry upon which his state (and his family) relies. The conservative West Virginia Democrat campaigned on killing President Barack Obama’s climate change legislation in 2010. Last year, he delivered a fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which included over $500 billion aimed at fighting climate change.
Raskin would become the second major Biden nominee Manchin has sent packing. Early in 2021, Manchin refused support Neera Tanden’s nomination to the Office of Management and Budget over her past mean tweets directed at some Republican senators, forcing the White House to withdraw the nomination.