(Reuters) - President Donald Trump looks set to put his final stamp on the Federal Reserve just weeks after being voted out of office, with the Senate expected to approve his picks soon to fill the last two open seats at the U.S. central bank.
Senate votes on Trump’s former economic adviser Judy Shelton and St. Louis Fed research director Christopher Waller could take place as early as next week, Republican Senator John Cornyn told Bloomberg News on Thursday. Cornyn’s communications director confirmed the comments to Reuters.
Republican leaders have previously said they would not advance the nominations unless they were confident that Shelton, who has drawn criticism for being too partisan for the job, has the support needed for approval.
But Republicans’ control of the Senate, currently by 53 members, is only assured until January, giving them cause to act now.
In the same elections earlier this month where Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden, voters also gave Democrats one additional Senate seat. Control of two more seats - and of the Senate itself - hangs on the outcome of a Jan. 5 runoff in Georgia.
Critics have said Shelton could politicize the Fed’s interest-rate setting because of her ties to Trump, though she told lawmakers in her confirmation hearing that “no one tells me what to do.”
Shelton’s term would end in January 2024. Waller’s would end in 2030.
Both would be regular voters on the Fed’s 12-member rate-setting panel. Trump also picked the Fed chair and all but one of the other Fed Board governors.
Two Republicans have said they will not support Shelton.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who had opposed prior Trump picks for the Fed, plans to vote to confirm Shelton, her office said Thursday.
“Through the vetting process of the nominee - examining the qualifications, credentials, experience, and ability to interpret and execute the law - which included having a phone meeting with the nominee, Senator Murkowski determined Dr. Shelton is qualified to serve in the role,” her office said.
Democrats were quick to cry foul.
“Trump lost the election. He’s leaving office in January. But Republicans are still hellbent on installing his disaster of a Fed nominee Judy Shelton,” Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted. “The @FederalReserve is no place for someone incapable of making policy decisions independent from political calculations.”
Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.