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U.S. Senator Toomey will support Trump Fed board pick Shelton

(Reuters) – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, a former banker and Republican who serves on economic committees, on Wednesday said he would support President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee for the Federal Reserve Board, Judy Shelton.

Toomey, who was among Republicans to subject Shelton to tough questioning in her nomination hearing earlier this month, said she had reassured him since then that she would not pursue monetary policy designed to devalue the dollar – one of his chief concerns about her nomination.

“She clarified to me that she will oppose using monetary policy for the purpose of devaluing the dollar,” the Pennsylvania Republican said in a statement. “It would have been imprudent and contrary to statutory authorization for the Federal Reserve to go down this path. Given her assurances, I intend to support Dr. Shelton’s nomination.”

Shelton in earlier public comments had suggested other countries were cheating the United States by devaluing their currencies, and Republican Trump has blamed the Fed for not fighting back to help U.S. trade competitiveness.

Currency policy is the province of the U.S. Treasury, and Shelton in a letter to Toomey acknowledged “it is not within the Fed’s specific mandate, nor is it the Federal Reserve’s responsibility, to directly target U.S. competitiveness on trade as an economic objective.”

Shelton’s path to the Fed remains uncertain. Two other Republicans at her confirmation hearing were noncommittal.

(Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Sandra Maler and Grant McCool)