A controversial nominee for the U.S. Federal Reserve's Board of Governors handpicked by the White House was questioned by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, as senators worried whether the nominee would be independent from political influences.
Judy Shelton, a conservative scholar nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump last year, attended her confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Having been a critic of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy in recent years and former economic adviser to Trump's presidential campaign, Shelton once wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the Fed "would be in keeping with its historical mandate if the Fed were to pursue a more coordinated relationship with both Congress and the president."
Most economists and market participants believe that the Federal Reserve should unarguably guard its independence from political influences, since this acts as a pillar of the U.S. central bank's credibility. Facing doubts and worries, Shelton stressed her independence in front of senators from both side of the aisle.
"I pledge to be independent in my decision-making and frankly no one tells me what to do," Shelton said during the confirmation hearing.
However, Senate Democrats didn't buy her words about independence, with one saying that Shelton had "flip-flopped on too many issues to be confirmed." Besides, multiple Senate Republicans saw some of her controversial economic ideas such as managing the value of the U.S. dollar as "a very very dangerous path to go down."
According to the Federal Reserve Act, a nominee for the Fed's Board of Governors must be confirmed by the Senate. If all Democrats oppose her nomination, Shelton would need full support of the Republican senators on the committee to win her nomination.
Contrary to what Shelton experienced during the hearing, Christopher Waller, another nominee who serves as research director of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, faced much less questioning.