Judy Shelton’s nomination to the Federal Reserve board was left in limbo with little chance of revival Wednesday as the Senate prepared to leave Washington for the Thanksgiving holiday recess.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, confronted by the absence of two key Republican members, has scheduled no more votes for the week.
Prospects for getting President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee confirmed once the Senate returns Nov. 30 are slim. That’s the same day that Arizona is supposed to certify election results that would have Democrat Mark Kelly replacing Republican Senator Martha McSally, who he defeated in a special election on Nov. 3.
Kelly could be sworn in quickly after certification, bringing the party split in the Senate to 52 to 48 in favor of Republicans. But with three GOP senators opposing Shelton and all 45 Democrats and two independents also opposed, the nomination would be defeated 51-49 if all members of the chamber vote, and assuming Kelly votes with fellow Democrats.
McConnell’s plans to get Shelton confirmed this week were derailed by the absence of Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Rick Scott of Florida. Both were in self-imposed quarantines following exposure to Covid-19. That allowed opponents to block a procedural move to advance Shelton’s nomination to a confirmation vote.
Grassley, the second-oldest member of the Senate, later reported that he had contracted the coronavirus. Scott has tested negative so far.
McConnell switched his own vote to no, which allowed him to bring the nomination back up for consideration. He could still do that when senators return, though it’s unlikely unless there are absences among opponents to Shelton’s nomination.
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