(Reuters) – U.S. Senator Mitt Romney will oppose the nomination of former Trump campaign adviser Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board, becoming the first Republican to break ranks on U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial pick for the influential economic policy post.
“I’m not going to be endorsing Judy’s Shelton’s nomination to the Fed,” The Hill newspaper quoted Romney as telling reporters at the Capitol. “I will be voting against her.”
The nomination of Shelton, who in the past has supported a return to the gold standard and had advocated the Fed be more inline with Trump’s White House regarding monetary policy, was approved Tuesday by the Senate Banking Committee on a 13-12 party line vote.
Shelton’s nomination next needs confirmation by the Senate as a whole, where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority. At least three Republicans would need to join Romney, one of the most vocal critics of Trump in his party, to block her joining the top ranks of the U.S. central bank.
North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer, who had joined Romney in sinking Trump’s proposed nomination last year of former presidential candidate Herman Cain, said earlier this week that he would support Shelton.
Democrats have raised concerns about placing the longtime Fed critic and Trump confidante in a position of influence over U.S. monetary policy.
Republicans who support her have said they believe she supports the Fed’s independence from politics, which U.S. central bankers say is key to their effectiveness and policy credibility.
St Louis Fed chief researcher Christopher Waller is also up for a Fed seat, but unlike Shelton he holds more conventional views on monetary policy and his nomination has bipartisan support.
(Reporting By Dan Burns, Editing by Franklin Paul and Cynthia Osterman)