Fed nominee Shelton doesn't yet have Senate support, Thune says

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) speaks during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on examining 2020 filing season amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2020. Susan Walsh/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Judy Shelton, U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial pick to serve on the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate-setting panel, does not currently have the votes to win confirmation in the U.S. Senate, Republican Senator John Thune said Tuesday.

Thune is the Senate’s majority whip, whose job is to keep track of how fellow Republicans will vote on any given issue.

“We’re still working it,” Thune told reporters at the U.S. Capitol, when asked if Shelton has the votes needed. “She’s a priority for the White House. It’s the Federal Reserve. It’s important. So, obviously, we want to get it done. But we’re not going to bring it up until we have the votes to confirm her.”

In the full Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins have already declared their intention to oppose her.

If two more join, Shelton would become the fifth of Trump’s Fed picks to be blocked from joining the top ranks of the U.S. central bank.

Shelton is a former Trump campaign adviser whose has championed a gold standard and more cooperation between the central bank and the White House, two outside-the-mainstream views that have drawn criticism even from some in Trump’s Republican party.

In July the Senate Banking Committee advanced Shelton’s nomination to consideration by the full Senate in a 13-12 partyline vote.

Trump has appointed all but one of the current five governors, including Chair Jerome Powell.

Shelton has been seen as Trump’s potential pick for succeeding Powell, should Trump win a second term in November.

Reporting by David Morgan, Ann Saphir and Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy