Potential Federal Reserve board nominee Stephen Moore, picked by U.S. President Donald Trump, faced new criticism on Friday, with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren accusing him of lacking competencies to serve in that role. Mitt Romney (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Cory Gardner (Colo.) - in announcing opposition to Cain's appointment to the Fed. Republicans control 53 seats of the 100 chamber Senate, and losing the support of four members means Cain would need help from Democrats, which appears unlikely.
"When I saw Trump's tweet, the feeling I had is that it increases the odds the Fed tightens this week to assert their independence", said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust and a former Fed economist. As recently as Wednesday, Trump told reporters that Cain was "a friend" and "a wonderful guy".
Some Senate Republicans have voiced concerns over Cain's support for slashing interest rates, echoing a call by Trump. "We'd have a standard on which to base our money", Trump said back in 2016.
"We'll see who's actually nominated", said McConnell.
Earlier Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said elevating Cain and Moore to the Fed would risk politicizing the nation's central bank and endangering the economy.
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Cain has run into concerns by lawmakers from both parties that, as a Trump loyalist and deeply conservative political figure, he would threaten the Fed's traditional political independence.
Powell's appearance Thursday night at a Democratic retreat in Leesburg, Virginia, came as numerous lawmakers gathered there have raised alarms about the Fed's independence in the face of President Donald Trump's frequent criticisms of the central bank. But he said earlier this week that he didn't know how Cain was faring in the vetting process and that Cain "will make that determination" whether to continue. He dropped out of the race after allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity, which he denied. Last week he tweeted his intention to name the former presidential hopeful, who heads a political action committee supporting Trump's agenda.
He has also said he changed his mind about the gold standard and advocated tying Fed policy to a commodity index, which he said former Chairman Paul Volcker used to tame inflation.
Neither Moore nor Cain have been formally nominated by Trump.