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Fed nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin withdraws after fight over her climate change stance

Sarah Bloom Raskin speaks during her confirmation hearing at the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 3 in Washington, D.C. Raskin on Tuesday withdrew her nomination to a key Fed banking role.
Ken Cedeno
/
AP
Sarah Bloom Raskin speaks during her confirmation hearing at the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 3 in Washington, D.C. Raskin on Tuesday withdrew her nomination to a key Fed banking role.

Updated March 15, 2022 at 5:01 PM ET

President Biden's nominee for a top regulatory post at the Federal Reserve has withdrawn after opposition from fossil fuel interests dashed her hopes of confirmation in the closely divided Senate.

Sarah Bloom Raskin had drawn criticism from Senate Republicans for arguing that bank regulators should pay more attention to the financial risks posed by climate change.

Her fate was sealed on Monday, when Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he would oppose her, calling Raskin insufficiently committed to an "all-of-the-above energy policy."

Biden said Raskin had been the target of "baseless attacks from industry and conservative interest groups."

"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," the president said in a statement.

Other Fed nominees likely to get a Senate vote

Raskin's withdrawal clears the way for Senate action on four other Fed nominations, including a second term as Fed chairman for Jerome Powell.

Those nominations had been stalled, as Republicans boycotted a vote on Raskin in the Senate Banking Committee.

Republican senators — especially those from energy-rich states — worried that Raskin would discourage banks from lending money to fossil fuel companies, although she insisted during her confirmation hearing that banks would make their own lending decisions.

Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, promised to move forward with the other nominations. He lamented Raskin's defeat and accused committee Republicans of falling for "talking points written by the oil and gas industry."

Raskin previously served on the Fed board of governors and in a top post at the Treasury Department.

Republicans questioned whether she used those connections after leaving the government to win preferential treatment for a Colorado fin-tech company where she served on the board. Raskin denied any wrongdoing.

"Rather than a productive and informed discussion about climate and financial risk, the country was treated to diversionary attacks on my ethics and character," Raskin wrote the president in withdrawing her nomination.

"I am not concerned with attacks on my character. I am deeply concerned, however, with the danger that this practice poses to the common good and the willingness of competent and devoted people to serve in government," she added.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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.