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Biden’s Anti-Fossil Fuel Fed Nominee Withdraws After Confirmation Stalls

Last updated on March 16, 2022

Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Joe Biden’s controversial nominee to the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, has withdrawn her name from consideration.

In a letter to Biden, obtained by The New Yorker, Raskin lamented the fact that controversy over her past record led to her and other nominees being “held hostage” by Republicans who boycotted the Senate Banking Committee to prevent a vote. Raskin maintained that position in her letter and blamed Senate opposition and special interest groups who were “unwilling to acknowledge the economic complications of climate change and the toll it has placed, and will continue to place, on Americans.”

The Senators’ point of contention, Raskin wrote, “was my frank public discussion of climate change and the economic costs associated with it. It was — and is — my considered view that the perils of climate change must be added to the list of serious risks that the Federal Reserve considers as it works to ensure the stability and resiliency of our economy and financial system.”

“This is not a novel or radical position,” Raskin contended, arguing that central banks around the world, and even current Biden nominee for Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, have “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,” Raskin wrote. “We are entering an era of financial economic war, inflation, and climate transition. These risks cannot be dismissed for political reasons, certainly at this moment when the possibilities of mitigating them still exist.”

In a statement reacting to the withdrawal, Biden blasted Senate Republicans, claiming they ignored Raskin’s “broad support” and previous experience at the Fed, in favor of partisan interests.

“Sarah Bloom Raskin knows better than anyone how important the Federal Reserve is to fighting inflation and continuing a sustainable economic recovery,” Biden wrote. “She has unparalleled experience pursuing solutions to enhance our country’s critical financial infrastructure, with expertise in cybersecurity and climate risk, and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace.”

“Sarah’s nomination had broad support—from the banking and financial services community, former members of the Board of Governors, multiple Nobel Prize winners, consumer advocates, and respected economists from around the country,” Biden added.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

Biden then called on Republicans to swiftly vote to confirm the other nominees to the nation’s central bank.

Despite Biden’s gripes with Senate Republicans’ boycott, it was likely moderate Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin who sunk Raskin’s confirmation. Manchin does not sit on the Banking Committee but is the swing vote in the evenly-divided Senate. He has recently taken a hard-line stance on domestic energy production and has already held up the nomination of an Interior Department appointee until the Biden administration commits to boosting domestic oil and gas drilling. In a statement Monday, Manchin voiced similar concerns that Raskin would not help to advance an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that included oil and gas to meet the country’s energy needs and lower prices for American consumers.

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