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Weekly Column: Fed Nominee Withdrawal Reinforces Need For Transparency And Commitment To Improving The Economy

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

The Federal Reserve is tasked with an incredibly important role to set monetary policy decisions independently of political persuasion.  I had serious concerns with Sarah Bloom Raskin’s public statements targeting the oil and gas sector.  I have fought for many years against progressive left policies that would choke off credit to politically disfavored industries, such as oil and gas or firearms companies.  Now that she has withdrawn her nomination to serve as Vice Chair for Supervision at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, a far better course would be for Democrats to advance a nominee who is fully committed to improving our country’s economy through greater spending discipline and policies that fuel economic growth, not inflation.

Senate Banking Committee Republicans were unjustly criticized for not going along with Sarah Bloom Raskin’s, now withdrawn, nomination to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors.  Ms. Raskin evaded important questions, and the Committee should not advance a nomination if there are outstanding concerns with a nominee’s responsiveness. 

For example, Ms. Raskin advocated choking off credit to some legal, lawful industries, such as oil and gas, that have been targeted by the progressive left.  This position is reminiscent of the highly inappropriate initiative “Operation Choke Point”, which targeted politically disfavored industries.  Under this operation, some Idaho business owners involved in the pawn broker, guns and ammunition sector experienced difficulty finding essential banking services.  It is an absurdity for the progressive left to enable the federal bureaucracy to financially strangle lawful businesses simply because they do not agree with them. 

I aggressively and successfully fought against this initiative, and will continue to push against similar efforts.  In that spirit, I am co-sponsoring legislation to prevent this far-left policy of banking discrimination, and I oppose nominees who advocate for this discriminatory policy.  Customers and lawful companies complying with federal and state law must have access to credit based on their creditworthiness, rather than social or political pressure.

The Senate is also not a rubber stamp for nominations, and must properly evaluate them.  We have very serious issues to address, as our country recovers from the pandemic and works to rouse peace and stability in our turbulent world.  A stronger economy not only means stronger local communities across our country, but also a stronger position to support our allies and weaken those, such as Vladimir Putin, pursuing horrendous and destabilizing agendas. 

Inflation has accelerated under the Biden Administration to 40-year highs.  Economists agree the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan poured $2 trillion of inflationary fuel on an already overheating economy, and is a significant factor to the price spikes since the beginning of the Biden Administration.  Rather than considering further damaging measures, such as more untargeted federal spending, wage and price controls, and tax hikes, we should:

  • ensure the Federal Reserve attends to its low-and-stable inflation mandate without allowing politics to enter decision-making;
  •  exercise greater discipline over spending, deficits, debt and our broken budget process;
  • expand trade opportunities;
  • streamline federal regulation; and
  • protect the tax reforms implemented under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which led to record high levels of business investment, historic lows in unemployment and poverty, and record high incomes during the past Administration.

We need nominees for these important federal roles who are truly committed to focusing on advancing policies, such as these, to strengthen our economy and who are also truly committed to steering clear of wasting more time on pushing polarizing, personal preferences on how to change American society. 

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