Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need To Reject The Nomination Of Judy Shelton To The Federal Reserve Board

November 17, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor to urge Senators to reject the nomination of Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Today, the Senate will vote on the nomination of Judy Shelton to serve as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Ms. Shelton is, without a doubt, one of the least qualified nominees I have ever seen for our nation’s central bank.

When her nomination first came before the Senate Banking Committee, a former aide to a Republican Senator on the Committee said that she was so unqualified, and her views so far out of the mainstream, that the “idea of even calling Ms. Shelton as a witness for something was beyond the pale.”

That’s a former Republican aide saying Ms. Shelton wasn’t qualified to be a witness in a committee hearing, let alone a nominee to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

It’s not hard to understand why. For years, Ms. Shelton has advocated for the resurrection of the gold standard, a long since discarded policy that in part led to the Great Depression. She has questioned the independence of the Fed, and beyond that, has even questioned whether the Fed should exist. Ms. Shelton has also suggested that we put an end to federal deposit insurance, an institution that has protected Americans’ savings since the 1930s. That’s why over 130 of the nation’s top economists—including seven Nobel laureates—have opposed her nomination, as have countless alumni of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Ms. Shelton’s views have another strange quality: they seem to change when it’s politically convenient. When President Obama was in office, Ms. Shelton harangued the Fed to increase interest rates, despite the economic downturn. But in 2017, when President Trump took office, Ms. Shelton abruptly switched her position and argued that the Fed should reduce rates, in her words, “as fast, as efficiently, as expeditiously as possible.”

It may surprise few to learn that she was an adviser to President Trump’s 2016 campaign. She has defended his candidacy, his policies, and encouraged world banks to hold international conferences at Mar-a-Lago. Imagine, a nominee like Judy Shelton for the Federal Reserve, which is supposed to be an independent body.

I have fought both Democrats and Republicans when they have tried to interfere with the independence of the Fed, but Ms. Shelton doesn’t seem to care about it at all.

So, that might be the most concerning thing about her nomination: her stunning lack of independence. The Federal Reserve Board must make decisions on an objective economic analysis and judgment, not whatever is best for one party or one occupant of the Oval Office. That’s why terms on the Fed Board last fourteen years. We are supposed to trust Federal Reserve governors to be neutral arbiters, no matter which party is in power in Washington. We are supposed to trust that everyone who serves on the Fed is, first and foremost, well qualified and truly independent.

But, unfortunately, Judy Shelton is neither. Ms. Shelton has shown herself to be an economic weathervane, pointing whichever direction she believes the partisan winds are blowing.

Every single Democrat will oppose her nomination today. I understand a few of our Republican colleagues will oppose her nomination as well. The question is: will enough of our colleagues on the other side stand up and do the right thing today? Members of this chamber have stood up before to prevent President Trump from putting unqualified, partisan advocates on the Federal Reserve. During these final few weeks of the Trump presidency, it’s time to do it again.

I plead with my Republican colleagues—for the sake of an economy that is hurting from COVID, for the sake of our future economy and its growth—to reject Ms. Shelton’s nomination.