Manchin Again Impedes Biden’s Agenda as Raskin Withdraws

Sarah Bloom Raskin withdrew her nomination Tuesday for the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors as opposition by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) effectively ended her chance for confirmation.

The Biden nominee faced an evenly divided Senate in which all Republicans opposed her nomination, and the possibility of a GOP moderate nullifying Manchin’s decision ended when Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told reporters “there is not a path forward” for Biden’s nominee.

Manchin, whose opposition derailed Biden’s $2 trillion Build Back Better Act in December, cited statements by Raskin in which she declared the Fed should not “prop up and enrich” the “dying” fossil fuel industry for his opposition. The moderate senator emphasized on Monday the need for “policy leaders and economic experts” to tackle soaring inflation and specifically energy costs.

The senator from West Virginia is perhaps the leading advocate for the coal and gas industry – from either party – and just declared last week his continuing support for the Keystone XL pipeline that was axed on Biden’s first day in office. In remarks to energy executives, Manchin called the president’s moratorium on drilling on public lands “a pause.”

Manchin and Republican opponents pointed towards “revolving door” actions by Raskin, which are not illegal but may be troubling to critics. These involve former government officials using their connections to be conduits for business interests–for a fee.

Even more troubling for congressional Republicans are comments by the former nominee of her goal to “reimagine the economy” to save humanity from a “hot planet.”

President Biden reaffirmed his strong support for Raskin Tuesday and said in a statement that his nominee “was subject to baseless attacks from industry and conservative interest groups.”

Raskin was to serve as the Fed’s powerful vice chair for supervision, overseeing tests to determine bank safety and liquidity. GOP opponents charged she would use the powerful position with the Fed to penalize banks that lend to fossil fuel companies.

Four other Biden nominees, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell, are now clear for consideration as Republicans had stalled the process over objections to Raskin’s nomination. GOP senators on the Senate Banking Committee boycotted a vote on all of Biden’s pending Fed nominations in protest over Raskin’s professed desire to merge her climate fears with policies of the powerful central bank.

And as much as Democrats want cars and countries to run on windmills and solar panels, the hard fact is that 80% of the world’s energy is supplied by fossil fuels. The Biden administration should celebrate the path forward for its four other nominees and avoid attempts to put climate change radicals in control of the U.S. economy.