Sarah Bloom Raskin has officially withdrawn her nomination to serve as vice chair for supervision of the Federal Reserve Board. She had floated in limbo for weeks after Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee boycotted her confirmation hearing.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) put the final nail in the coffin Monday, saying he would not support her candidacy and closing off the possibility that Democrats would be able to circumvent the boycott with a Senate rule change.
“Despite her readiness — and despite having been confirmed by the Senate with broad, bipartisan support twice in the past — Sarah was subject to baseless attacks from industry and conservative interest groups,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Senate Republicans are more focused on amplifying these false claims and protecting special interests than taking important steps toward addressing inflation and lowering costs for the American people.”
Raskin wrote to President Biden in a letter that she was bowing out amid “relentless attacks by special interests,” according to the New Yorker, which first reported her withdrawal.
Raskin’s cardinal sin in the eyes of Republicans and Manchin amounted to suggesting that regulators puzzle out how to incentivize shifts to renewable energy, a fairly anodyne proposal on the world stage. She also wrote a piece in the New York Times criticizing the Paycheck Protection Program for giving loans to fossil fuel companies.
“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 of Raskin. Manchin’s personal wealth is largely built on coal companies and he continues to take large quantities of money from fossil fuel entities.
“This is not a novel or radical position,” Raskin wrote in her letter. “Chairman Powell has recognized climate change as a significant risk that needs to be incorporated into the supervisory process. Any vice chair for supervision who ignored these realities — which are manifesting every day across this country — would be guilty of gross dereliction of duty.”
The Banking Committee will proceed to consider the rest of the nominees, to whom Republicans took less offense.
“The Committee will hold a markup on the remainder of these nominees — a historic slate which includes the first African American woman ever nominated,” committee chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said in a statement. “At this critical moment in our economic recovery — as the country fights inflation and faces uncertainty due to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine — I implore my Republican colleagues to do their jobs, show up to vote YES on the remaining, eminently qualified Federal Reserve nominees.”
Perhaps the most lasting feature of Raskin’s sunken nomination will be Republicans’ tactics. On the evenly-split banking committee, a feature of the current Senate’s organizing resolution that Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) fought over at the start of term, the Republicans could simply walk out and grind the process to a halt. The committee then lacked a quorum and could not discharge the nominations to the full Senate floor.
The Banking Committee is not the only one with a 50-50 split. Another prominent one that handles many nominees is the Senate Judiciary Committee. While Republicans seem disinclined to use the tactic to derail Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, the committee frequently sees slates of nominees at lower levels.