Government Lending

White House announces two Fed nominations

The names now go to the Senate for confirmation

The White House announced the nomination of two people to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, positions that will give them the power to direct monetary policy and influence the direction of mortgage rates.

Christopher Waller, research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and a former professor at the University of Notre Dame, likely will be an easy confirmation for one of the two seats on the seven-member board that has been vacant for over a year.

Judy Shelton, an advisor to President Donald Trump, could be more controversial. She’s a Fed critic who advocates the return to the gold standard, a policy the U.S. abandoned in 1971.

“The one question I would have for her is, does she truly embrace a gold standard – that would concern me,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told Politico.

Shelton has also been viewed by some as being Trump sycophant because she roundly criticized the Fed for keeping rates near zero during the Obama administration, yet became a booster of low rates when Trump called for deep cuts in 2019.

Trump announced via tweet on July 2 he planned to nominate Shelton and Waller. Seven days later, Shelton resigned from her position as U.S. envoy to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, citing her pending nomination as the reason. Waller has continued working at the St. Louis Fed.

While Trump often makes personnel announcements via tweet, the White House release of the names on Thursday is the first step in sending them to the U.S. Senate to be confirmed.

Shelton and Waller replace two prior nominations Trump made for the seats that turned out to be controversial. Both of the prior candidates withdrew after it became clear they wouldn’t be approved by the Senate.

Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate, and Stephen Moore, a writer and television commentator, both saw their confirmation prospects sink in 2019 as evidence emerged that called into question their attitudes toward women.

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