The Washington Post has reported that several Senate Republicans are open to confirming Stephen Moore, a conservative economist, to the Federal Reserve’s board of governors.
“If he’s nominated and confirmed, he would bring a new voice over to the Fed, and sometimes they need some new voices,” said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), a senior member of the Banking Committee.
In December, Moore urged President Trump to fire Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell. The suggestion came as White House officials were reacting angrily to the central bank raising interest rates. Moore argued that there was no need to raise rates at the time because inflation was low.
Moore was a campaign advisor to Trump during the 2016 election. Those critical of his appointment are concerned that he would make the Fed more political, as he is an ally of Trump.
Moore has since said he regretted asking for Powell to be fired. “This was just said in a bit of anger,” Moore said of his December comments. “I’m actually looking forward to working with Powell and meeting him.”
More hopes to support policies that “maximize growth and higher wages for workers” at the Fed.
Trump has said that he regretted picking Powell for the job because he was in danger of slowing economic growth. Powell has halted the Fed’s plans to raise rates in the short term, but also said that he does not bend to political pressure.
“Very intelligent guy, certainly has had some provocative comments in the past. But having known him for a while, I think he will serve well,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), another Banking Committee member, about Moore. “I think separating the rhetoric as a commentator from an actual member of the Federal Reserve, you’ll find him to be a very astute, contemplative thinker who has the ability to add value to the board.”
Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the Banking Committee Chairman, said that while he didn’t want to pre-judge Moore’s nomination, ““We’ll give it prompt attention, I can assure you.” He added that filling all of the seats on the Fed board was a priority.
Democrats criticized Moore. “Mr. Moore doesn’t have the background,” said Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). “He’s a politician. He’s political. He’s always wanted, ‘Cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes.’ He’s one of the reasons we have such a big deficit right now, because of his advocacy.”
Now, there are two open seats on the Fed’s seven-seat board of governors. Once Trump nominates Moore, the Senate Banking Committee will vote on whether to advance the appointment. Later, it will go to the Senate for consideration.
Moore was a founder of the Club for Growth in 1999 which advocated for tax cuts and free-market policies. He has written for the Wall Street Journal and worked at the Heritage Foundation.
While past presidents have nominated Fed governors with political backgrounds in the past, Moore’s nomination is unprecedented, as he called for the ousting of the central bank chief.