A Senate vote on confirmation of the president’s nomination of Judy Shelton to a seat on the Federal Reserve Board could come as early as Tuesday or Wednesday, with approval of the controversial figure considered likely to squeak through, barring unforeseen circumstances – such as, for one, a fourth Republican senator coming out in opposition.
Shelton’s confirmation is expected to be opposed by all Senate Democrats, so Shelton needs approval by all but three Senate Republicans to get the Fed seat. Republican Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Susan Collins (Maine) have already said they oppose Shelton’s being added to the board of the nation’s central bank. And on Monday, The Washington Post reported that Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) also opposed the nomination, stating doubt about her support for an independent Fed.
Shelton – whose confirmation is opposed by Democrats given her past comments about reinstituting the gold standard, questioning the effectiveness of deposit insurance, and the Fed’s independence from political influence – was nominated by the president in January. She won Senate Banking Committee approval in July on a straight party-line vote of 13-12.
If a fourth Senate Republican decides to vote “no” on confirmation, Shelton’s nomination will fail. If the vote is 50-50 (where things appear to stand now), Vice President Mike Pence could cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm her. But while Alexander is reported to oppose Shelton’s nomination, the same Post article said Alexander is not expected to be present for a vote if it occurs this week – so whether or not Pence would need to step in depends largely on timing.
Shelton’s nomination could come to the Senate floor for debate as early as Monday evening. But another Fed nominee, Christopher Waller, has not enjoyed the same expediency. His nomination cleared the Senate Banking Committee in July by a healthy majority (18-7), but it still hasn’t come up for Senate consideration.
Meanwhile, here’s what else is ahead in Washington this week:
- The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) will conduct a webinar titled “Fair Lending and Consumer Compliance Regulatory Update” from 3 – 4 p.m. ET. Staff from the NCUA’s Office of Consumer Financial Protection will discuss focus areas for the agency’s consumer compliance exams in 2021, including a review of COVID-19-related loan modifications and credit reporting; fair lending policies and procedures; and findings from the 2020 consumer compliance exam reviews. (Register here)
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Advisory Board (CAB), Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC), and Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) will hold a combined virtual, open meeting via WebEx (audio access only) from 1 – 5:30 p.m. The panels will discuss data collection and reporting regarding applications for credit for women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses; consumer access to financial records; and mortgage trends and themes specifically related to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (RSVP by noon Nov. 17 to receive meeting materials, access info.)
- The NCUA Board meets in open session (access via audio webcast only) for a briefing on the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund; a briefing on credit unions’ 2019 diversity self-assessments; reprogramming of the agency’s 2020 budget; and a proposed rule on capitalization of interest (related to an appendix in the share insurance rules addressing loan workouts, nonaccrual, and troubled debt restructurings). The meeting is slated for 10 a.m.
- Comments are due on the Federal Reserve Board’s proposed rule on capital planning and stress testing at large bank holding companies and U.S. intermediate holding companies of foreign banking organizations. The proposal would make conforming changes to the capital planning, regulatory reporting, and stress capital buffer requirements for firms subject to Category IV standards to be consistent with the tailoring framework; and would conform certain requirements for savings and loan holding companies to be consistent with recent changes to the Fed Board’s stress testing rules. Capital planning guidance is also addressed.
- The CFPB’s Academic Research Council holds an open meeting to discuss data collection and reporting regarding applications for credit for women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses; research on the accuracy of credit reporting; and research on the use of alternative credit data. The meeting is set to run from 1 –4:30 p.m. (RSVP by noon Nov. 19 to receive meeting materials, access info.)