They were so close. Even though everyone knew she had no place in the hallowed halls of America’s central bank, even though she apparently didn’t know what a law was, even though she is the most manifest of hypocrites, even though approving a nominee to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors appointed by a lame-duck president during a lame-duck session of Congress is unprecedented, they were so close to giving Judy Shelton a voice in the nation’s monetary policy for the next three years. Even though they called her “very dangerous” and fatally attracted to “nutty ideas” and expressed “concern” about her ideas like devaluing the dollar and returning to the gold standard and such, as with all ill-considered (and worse) decisions of the Trump administration, his lackeys in the Senate (eventually) lined up behind her (including the three senators who made the above remarks). After all, to not do so would be to give Joe Biden (and Gary Gensler) an extra body at the Fed, and surely confirming a certifiable lunatic, a woman every bit as unfit for the job as everyone else Trump had picked for it, is preferable to that.
Alas, one of the other signal failures of the Trump presidency may prove as fatal to Shelton’s chances as it has to a quarter-million Americans.
While she had appeared to be on the brink of confirmation this week, the coronavirus complicated Republicans’ last-minute attempt to place Ms. Shelton in a role at the nerve center of the American economy.
On Tuesday morning, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, announced that he had been exposed to the coronavirus and by late afternoon he disclosed that he had tested positive. With Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, also in quarantine, Democrats who opposed her nomination had a chance to hold back confirmation with some Republican support….
The procedural vote ultimately failed 47 to 50, with Mr. McConnell changing his vote from agreeing to advance the nomination to opposing it so he could revive it before the end of the lame-duck session…. But Ms. Shelton’s prospects might prove dim. Mark Kelly, a Democratic senator-elect who flipped a Senate seat in Arizona, can be sworn in once his election is certified at the end of the month. Ms. Shelton has such a narrow margin of support that losing that one vote could cost her any chance of confirmation.
Still, if Mr. Grassley or Mr. Scott returns before Mr. Kelly is seated, Ms. Shelton might be approved.