Toomey says he will back Judy Shelton for Federal Reserve Board

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Republican Senator Pat Toomey said he’ll support President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judy Shelton for the Federal Reserve Board.

Toomey’s backing is essential to Shelton’s prospects for clearing the Senate Banking Committee, but isn’t enough to assure her nomination gets sent to the floor for a vote. Two other GOP senators are undecided on her nomination, and a single Republican “no” would be enough to block her, with Democrats on the panel likely united in opposition.

Senator Pat Toomey
Senator Pat Toomey

Shelton, a former economic adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, has drawn skepticism because of her past advocacy of returning the dollar to the gold standard. She has also said that she was “highly skeptical” that the Fed’s congressional mandate to pursue maximum employment and stable prices was relevant.

Other Republicans on the Banking Committee have yet to say whether they will vote for her. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama said through his office on Wednesday night that he remains undecided. Louisiana Senator John Kennedy also still hasn’t decided how he’ll vote, according to a person familiar with his stance.

Toomey, of Pennsylvania, had said during Shelton’s confirmation hearing that he was specifically concerned about her past comments indicating she supports the Federal Reserve devaluing the dollar in response to devaluations of other currencies. He said, in contrast, that an argument could be made for linking the dollar to a metric that includes precious metals.

In a statement on Wednesday night, Toomey said his concerns were addressed in a letter Shelton sent him.

“Since the hearing, I have corresponded and spoken further with Dr. Judy Shelton about her views on monetary policy,” he said in the statement. “She clarified to me that she will oppose using monetary policy for the purpose of devaluing the dollar. It would have been imprudent and contrary to statutory authorization for the Federal Reserve to go down this path.”

“Given her assurances,” Toomey said, “I intend to support Dr. Shelton’s nomination.”

Bloomberg News