AP NEWS

No. 2 GOP senator: Fed pick Moore’s fate may be known soon

May 1, 2019
Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., second from right, and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks to members of the media following a Senate policy luncheon, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s uphill effort to appoint conservative commentator Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve board may soon come to a head, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican leader said Wednesday.

Yet even as Sen. John Thune of South Dakota suggested Moore’s fate could be known as soon as Wednesday, Moore said everything was fine.

“It’s all systems go. I have to get all the paperwork in” for Congress’ required background checks, Moore told reporters. He said he had not “heard anything” from the White House about potential problems with his expected nomination.

Numerous GOP senators have said they object to Moore’s disparaging past writings about women or have sidestepped questions about whether they would back him for the Fed post. That is unusual for Republican senators, who generally flock to support Trump nominees.

With Democrats likely to solidly oppose confirming Moore, as few as four negative GOP votes would be enough to derail his bid for the job. Republicans control the Senate 53-47.

Thune told reporters at the Capitol that Moore “has issues up here.” Asked whether Republicans have urged the White House to stop pushing Moore for the job, Thune said there are “ongoing discussions and conversations” about it.

“We’ll know more about that before long,” said Thune, adding that could occur “perhaps” on Wednesday.

But at the White House, Moore predicted, “As long as it’s about my economic views and qualifications, I’ll be easily confirmed.” He said his prospect would depend on “if we can get the focus back on the economy.”

Trump has said he wants Moore to join the Fed but has yet to formally nominate him. Moore was one of his 2016 campaign advisers.

If Moore steps aside, it would be the second consecutive setback for Trump’s effort to place political allies on the Fed board, which is supposed to manage the economy free of partisan concerns. Trump, eyeing his 2020 re-election bid, has repeatedly pressured the Fed to cut interest rates, a move that normally boosts economic activity.

Herman Cain, a Trump preference for another Fed opening, withdrew from consideration recently after questions resurfaced about past allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity. Cain, a businessman who denied the accusations, was also a candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

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Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.