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Sen. Joe Manchin says he'll oppose Sarah Bloom Raskin's nomination to a key Fed role

Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Biden's nominee to be the Federal Reserve's vice chair for supervision speaks during her confirmation hearing at the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 3. Sen. Joe Manchin said on Monday he will oppose her nomination, likely dooming her chances.
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Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Biden's nominee to be the Federal Reserve's vice chair for supervision speaks during her confirmation hearing at the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 3. Sen. Joe Manchin said on Monday he will oppose her nomination, likely dooming her chances.

Sen. Joe Manchin says he's opposed to the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin for a top regulatory post at the Federal Reserve, likely spelling defeat for her confirmation in the closely divided Senate.

Manchin, a Democrat representing West Virginia, says he wants the Fed to focus on what he calls the most pressing issues — rising inflation and energy costs — and he's not convinced that Raskin shares those priorities.

Raskin, a former member of the Fed's governing board who also served in the Treasury Department, has sparked strong Republican opposition after arguing that financial regulators should pay more attention to the risks associated with climate change.

"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 in a statement.

Raskin is part of five Fed nominations from Biden

Rankin's nomination was already in limbo because Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee boycotted a vote on it.

Biden had named Raskin along with four other Fed nominees, including a second term for Jerome Powell as Fed chair, a vice chair post for Lael Brainard and board seats for two economists: Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson.

The Republicans' procedural roadblock has stalled all five Fed nominees. Committee Republicans, led by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., say they're willing to vote on the other nominees, but not Raskin.

Sen. Pat Toomey, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, addresses reporters on Feb. 15, in Washington, D.C. Committee Republicans, led by Toomey, boycotted a panel vote on President Biden's nominees to the Federal Reserve.
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Sen. Pat Toomey, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, addresses reporters on Feb. 15. That day, the committee's Republicans, led by Toomey, boycotted a panel vote on President Biden's nominees for the Federal Reserve.

But the committee's chairman, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has refused to separate Raskin's nomination from the other four Fed picks.

The Biden administration is not giving up on Raskin's nomination.

"We are working to line up the bipartisan support that she deserves," said White House spokesman Chris Meagher.

Meagher described Raskin as "one of the most qualified people to have ever been nominated for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors" and suggested she's the target of a "baseless campaign led by oil and gas companies."

Raskin's nomination has drawn scrutiny

Biden nominated Raskin to serve as the Fed's vice chair for supervision, overseeing bank regulation.

Opponents worry that her views on climate change could discourage banks from lending money to fossil fuel companies, although Raskin insisted during her confirmation hearing that it's up to banks to decide which loans to make, not the Federal Reserve.

Raskin has also drawn scrutiny over her work on behalf of a Colorado financial technology company, Reserve Trust, where she served on the board.

Committee Republicans have questioned whether Raskin improperly used her connections at the central bank to secure a coveted Fed master account for Reserve Trust, giving the company access to the central bank's payment system.

Both Raskin and the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, which granted the account, have denied any misconduct.

Raskin is married to Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who helped lead the second impeachment of then-President Donald Trump.

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Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.