July 10, 2020 / 8:53 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. Senate panel to vote on Trump Fed picks July 21

(Adds details, background)

July 10 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Banking committee members will vote July 21 on two nominees to the Federal Reserve Board, one of whom faced particularly sharp questioning in a mid-February hearing over views perceived by many as out of the mainstream.

President Donald Trump had nominated in January his former campaign adviser, economist Judy Shelton, along with St. Louis Fed chief researcher Christopher Waller, a more conventional pick for the job, for the U.S. interest-rate setting roles.

At the time Trump was regularly berating Fed Chair Jerome Powell for holding back economic growth by not easing monetary policy further.

Both Waller and Shelton were seen as advocates of looser policies.

But Shelton’s previous advocacy for returning to the gold standard and her support for interest-rate cuts to protect the dollar drew criticism during their joint confirmation hearing from several lawmakers in the Senate panel’s Republican majority. At least two later said they intend to support her after all.

But a panel vote, which would advance the decision of the full Senate, never came: within weeks of that contentious nomination hearing, the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. hard.

The Fed slashed rates to zero and injected unprecedented trillions of dollars into financial markets to stabilize them. (Reporting by Ann Saphir Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis)

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