The Senate on Tuesday blocked the nomination of Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in a 50-47 vote, though her nomination can still be considered at a later date.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supports Ms. Shelton's nomination, voted "no" on a procedural motion to limit debate on her nomination. Had the motion passed, the Senate would have then voted on her nomination and likely would have rejected it.
Though Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate, several Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — have come out against Ms. Shelton's nomination. That development coupled with news that Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Rick Scott of Florida have gone into quarantine after potential exposure to COVID-19, sunk chances of Ms. Shelton's nomination passing Tuesday.
Even with three Republican defections, Vice President Mike Pence could have broken the tie approving her nomination, but the quarantined senators means he never got the chance.
All 47 Democrats, including Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, voted against Ms. Shelton's nomination.
During the nomination process, Ms. Shelton, the U.S. executive director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development who previously served as an economic adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, faced tough questions about her past writings, among other things, advocating for a return to the gold standard and higher interest rates, positions she no longer holds.
She was also grilled during her February confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee about Fed independence.
If confirmed, Ms. Shelton would serve the remainder of a 14-year term that expires Jan. 31, 2024, a seat previously held by former Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen.
Mr. McConnell can bring her nomination up for consideration again, though the window is closing. In November's Arizona Senate election to fill the seat once held by John McCain, Mark Kelly defeated Martha McSally. Ms. McSally currently holds the seat because she was appointed to it in 2018, but Mr. Kelly will replace her in the coming weeks. Mr. Kelly will oppose Ms. Shelton's nomination, making him the 51st senator to do so.