Senate blocks confirmation of Trump Fed pick

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday blocked President Donald Trump's nomination of Judy Shelton to the board of the Federal Reserve, making her the latest in a string of failed nominees to the central bank.

Trump's party has a majority in the current Senate but was left short of enough votes to confirm Shelton after COVID-19 exposure forced two Republicans into quarantine and Republican Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins joined Democrats in voting 'no.'

Meanwhile, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris's vote made the difference for Democrats.

She traveled from Delaware, where she was working with the Biden transition team, to cast her vote.

The vote was 47 to 50 with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voting 'no' to preserve the option to reconsider later.

The Kentucky Senator's plans to confirm Shelton were complicated Tuesday morning when Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley announced he would be in quarantine after exposure to someone who tested positive for Covid-19, joining Senator Rick Scott of Florida who is also in quarantine.

Both Republicans were expected to back Shelton, whose nomination has been controversial from the start.

Shelton has in the past argued the nation would be better off returning to the gold standard.

But when she faced the Senate at a hearing in February, she backtracked.

Shelton: "I would not advocate going back to a prior historical monetary arrangement. I think it's really important to acknowledge that the power to regulate the value of U.S. money is given to Congress by our Constitution."

Shelton's views on interest rates have moved in lockstep with Trump’s -- criticizing easy money before Trump took office but supporting it after.

She has also expressed skepticism over the Fed’s need to set policy independently from the president and Congress.

Shelton joins other Trump Fed nominees that have failed to be confirmed, including former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who later died of COVID-19.

The White House, though, on Tuesday said it's standing by its nominee and that it expects the Senate will eventually vote to confirm her.