Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the vice chair of supervision on the Federal Reserve Board (Fed), withdrew her name for consideration on March 15.
Raskin, the wife of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), has been an outspoken advocate for far-reaching climate policies and a harsh critic of the fossil-fuel industry.
There was a large paper trail of published articles and numerous public statements available for Senators considering her nomination to examine demonstrating her hostility to the fossil fuel industry, her concern we faced a climate crisis, and her belief that the Fed had a role in fighting climate change among other causes.
Her public statements seemed to have sunk her nomination.
One day before Raskin withdrew he name, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced he would not vote to confirm her. Manchin’s announcement foreclosed any chance Raskin had of receiving the required majority in the Senate, because all 50 Republicans indicated they were opposed to her nomination.
‘Nations Critical Energy Needs’
Citing rising inflation which he tied to higher energy costs, Manchin said in a statement Raskin didn’t understand the criticality of fossil fuels to economic prosperity.
“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,” Manchin said.
Raskin served as deputy Treasury secretary and a member of the Fed’s board of governors during the administration of President Barack Obama.
Over the years Raskin had become an outspoken critic of investing in fossil fuel companies and urged regulators and banks to closely monitor how coal, gas, and oil companies, by contributing to climate change, could upend the financial system.
Her statements concerning fossil fuels put her at odds with the traditional view of the Fed as an independent agency, said Manchin.
“The Federal Reserve Board is not an institution that should politicize its critical decisions,” Manchin said. “This is a 10-year term to perhaps the most important independent body that is tasked with ensuring the stability of the American economy.
“At this historic moment for the United States and the world at large, it is imperative that the Federal Reserve Board preserves its independence and steers clear of partisanship,” Manchin said.
‘Focus on … Stable Prices’
Anyone Biden nominates to the Fed should focus their efforts like a laser on the Fed’s core mission of keeping prices stable and employment growing, said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, in a statement praising Raskin’s decision to withdraw.
“The Senate’s bipartisan rejection of Sarah Bloom Raskin’s nomination sends a powerful message to the Fed, and to all financial regulators, that it is not their job to allocate capital or stray from their mission to pursue extraneous or politically motivated campaigns,” Toomey said. “The Biden administration should nominate in her place an individual who focus exclusively on the Fed’s statutory mission of stable prices, full employment, and supervision of bank holding companies.”
‘A Mighty Blow’
Americans would have suffered if Raskin had been approved for vice chair of supervision on the Federal Reserve Board, as it would have represented the gross politicization of the system, says Scott Shepard, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR).
“The Federal Reserve System and the Securities and Exchange Commission are designed to be neutral regulators of American currency and markets, nothing more,” said Shepard. “They are not meant to be politicized.
“The Biden administration’s unprecedented efforts to politicize these agencies, and thus to destroy the basis of American prosperity, represents one of the greatest assaults on the American system and way of life ever mounted,” said Shepard. “But it is being challenged, and it is losing. Raskin’s defeat was a mighty blow.”
Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D., (email@example.com) is a senior fellow at the NCPPR and a senior policy analyst with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.