ICYMI—Hagerty Joins Squawk Box to Discuss Federal Reserve Board Nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin, Russia

February 16, 2022

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations Committees, today joined Squawk Box on CNBC to discuss President Biden’s nominee to the Federal Reserve Board Sarah Bloom Raskin, the latest on Russia and Ukraine, and the state of President Biden and Democrats’ “Build Back Better” legislation.

*Click the photo above or here to watch*

Partial Transcript

Hagerty on Federal Reserve nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin: “Senator [Jon] Tester and I are both looking at exactly the same thing: that has to do with nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin. You know, she signed a piece of paper when she was serving as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury—no revolving door allowed in the White House. She steps out a few months later, she joins the board of a trust company that had been applying for a master account. That company had applied for a master account—a Fintech company was applying. It had been denied. When she comes on the board, she picks up the phone, calls the head of the Kansas City [Federal Reserve]. Somehow, someway that master trust agreement miraculously appears for that one state-chartered Fintech company. None had ever happened before, and none have ever happened since. Ms. Raskin stays on several more months. When it’s time for her to go, she leaves with a payment of 1.5 million dollars. We’ve asked her detailed questions about this. She’s flustered. She has no answer. We’ve asked her in writing to respond to these questions. She has yet to answer.”

Hagerty on Bloom Raskin’s misguided view on the role of the Federal Reserve: “First, let’s say it doesn’t make sense. That’s not within the charter of the Federal Reserve. Their charter is very simple: it’s price stability and full employment. Yet, Ms. Raskin has written time and again about reimagining the role of the Fed and using this to go after unfavored industries. At this point in time, she’s talking about oil and gas. You know, it happens to be oil and gas today. It could be any other industry tomorrow. But this is not the role of the Federal Reserve.”

Hagerty on Bloom Raskin’s questionable conduct: “We need to get her to answer the questions that she’s been asked. To date, she’s been incredibly evasive. And if she’s not able to answer these questions clearly, then of course she shouldn’t be granted an opportunity to move forward. We need her to answer the questions, answer them truthfully and under oath.”

Hagerty on private banks’ loan selectivity: “They need to make those criteria incredibly clear. They’re actually subject to charter at the national level or at the state level. They have to act within that charter. You know, if they’re going to take such means of discriminating against any industry or any group, they’d have to do that within legal means in accordance with their charter […] Any industry that’s being singled out and attacked like that is one that we need to take a hard look at. We know what Operation Choke Point did. We see where someone like Ms. Raskin would go if she were in the Fed. I think we have to be very careful as we use banks to pick winners and losers.”

Hagerty on Russia-Ukraine tensions: “What’s happened is Russia has 130,000 troops at the border there at Ukraine right now. They’ve pulled back about 10,000 troops in the wake of a meeting that’s taken place today between the Russian premier and his counterpart in Germany. That could be a first step in a move to deescalate things, or it could be just a ruse. At the end of the day, that’s up to Vladimir Putin, but we’re watching very carefully. Certainly, we all hope it moves in the former direction that we see a de-escalation of tensions. But right now, it’s anybody’s guess what’s in Vladimir Putin’s mind.”

Hagerty on Vladimir Putin’s intentions: “I’ve got to believe that that strategic interest that you described is underlying all of this. You know, we saw this happen after the Sochi Olympics when he stepped in and took Crimea. He’s going to be very, he takes a very long view of things as you know, he’s going to be selective as he does it, and whenever he sees weakness, he’s going to try to take advantage of that weakness. He’s going to do it in a way that helps him economically, of course. But if he can obtain something bigger, something more strategic, I think he’s going to be looking in that direction as well […] I certainly don’t think he amassed 130,000 troops to get nothing out of the process. In the meantime, what has he gotten? He’s drastically increased oil prices again. And remember, Russia’s the second largest producer of energy in the world. So, he’s benefited every step of the way.”

Hagerty on the status of Democrats’ so-called “Build Back Better”: “It’s certainly dead in our conference. I know there are debates going on in the Democrat conference right now. Those debates may continue to go on, but as they do, we’re getting closer and closer to election season. You know, I think we ought to watch what the dynamics are on the field for each of these elections. You know, [Senator Chuck] Schumer has got a filing date in early April that he’s focused on right now, but at some point, these politicians that are in cycle have to get out in the field and have to campaign and have to win. So, I think they better do something pretty quick if they want to. I don’t believe the American appetite is there for this right now. We need to deal with big problems […] Look, inflation is at an all-time high. We need to get our arms around that. What they’re talking about with respect to coming and pumping more money in the economy just makes no sense to the average American when you’ve got inflation at levels that we haven’t seen in 40 years.”