Economy

Christopher Waller confirmed as Federal Reserve governor; Judy Shelton nomination likely dead

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Economist Christopher Waller has been confirmed as a Federal Reserve governor, following a near party-line vote Thursday in the Senate.

At the same time, the previous controversial nomination of Judy Shelton for a similar position is likely over now that she has lost key Republican support and the Democrats have officially gained another seat.

Though he had much stronger bipartisan support during his confirmation hearing, Waller's name passed by a 48-47 vote, with Republican Rand Paul being the sole GOP member to vote against.

At the same time, the seating of Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly, who unseated Republican Sen. Martha McSally, likely sealed Shelton's fate. Her nomination had come under substantial fire in the chamber regarding her views supporting the gold standard, questioning whether the Fed should be independent of political interference, and whether bank deposits should be insured.

Republican senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine opposed the Shelton nomination. There is still a small chance she could be confirmed if the GOP captures at least one of two contested Georgia seats, though the time frame to make such a move would be small and need to take place before the next Congress is seated in January.

The GOP holds a 52-48 edge in the upper chamber that could change following the Georgia races.

Shelton is the latest Fed nominee from President Donald Trump to fall flat, despite Republican Senate control.

Earlier attempts to seat economic commentator Stephen Moore and the late Herman Cain to the central bank board also failed amid controversy. Economists Nellie Liang and the late Marvin Goodfriend also did not muster adequate political support to get through.

Waller cleared a procedural vote Wednesday. He is executive vice president of the St. Louis Fed and has attended the policymaking meetings of the Federal Open market Committee so is familiar with how the central bank works.