(Reuters) – A third senator said he would oppose Republican President Donald Trump’s controversial pick for the U.S. Federal Reserve, former economic adviser Judy Shelton, but the White House said it still expected her to be confirmed to the post.
Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, a Republican, on Monday said he opposed Shelton’s nomination, narrowing the margin of her support but likely not eliminating her chance at confirmation.
“I oppose the nomination of Judy Shelton because I am not convinced that she supports the independence of the Federal Reserve Board as much as I believe the Board of Governors should,” Alexander said in a statement. “I don’t want to turn over management of the money supply to a Congress and a President who can’t balance the federal budget.”
Trump’s Republican party has a 53-47 majority in the current Senate, and even with Alexander joining colleagues Mitt Romney and Susan Collins in voting against Shelton, Vice President Mike Pence could cast a tie-breaking vote.
And it may not come to that, should the confirmation vote be held in the next few days: the Washington Post reported that Alexander will not be in Washington this week.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said Shelton was “exceptionally qualified” and had the full backing of the White House. “We expect she will be confirmed,” he said in response to a query about Alexander’s statement.
(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte, Ann Saphir and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Aurora Ellis, Nick Zieminski and Jonathan Oatis)