ICYMI—Hagerty Joins Balance of Power on Bloomberg TV to Discuss Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Federal Reserve Nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin

February 22, 2022

NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Banking Committees, today joined Balance of Power on Bloomberg TVto discuss sanctioning Russia and President Biden’s nominee to the Federal Reserve Board Sarah Bloom Raskin.

*Click the photo above or here to watch*

Partial Transcript

Hagerty on the Biden Administration’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: “It’s a little bit late for my taste. I think we’ve been debating for some time the imposition of sanctions, David. I’ve been for doing this months ago, if not weeks ago, to impose biting sanctions on Russia. They need to understand America’s resolve in this situation. Now we’re at a point where I think we’re going to see sanctions begin to unfold. Actually, Germany’s taken a stronger posture than the United States at this point, but there is more that we could do, more that we should do in terms of imposing sanctions and letting Vladimir Putin know that we mean business, whether it’s imposing sanctions on timber, metals, things that will send a clear and strong message, Nord Stream 2 certainly, but also leave us room to escalate further as need be depending on what Vladimir Putin decides to do next.”

Hagerty on returning to energy independence to weaken Russia: “You do need something in your back pocket, but I think the other thing that we could do right now is basically defund the war machine for Putin, because what we’ve done inadvertently is wage war on the oil and gas industry here in America. We should start the Keystone XL Pipeline back right up. We should essentially go back into the drilling business here in America so we can supply our allies with natural gas, that we can do things that counteract what Putin has done. Instead, what we’ve done is wage war on the natural gas and oil industry here in America. We’ve increased, you know, energy prices around the globe. Vladimir Putin has been the beneficiary of this windfall. We’ve essentially funded the war machine that Putin is now using against Ukraine. We can take steps to deflate that right now if we will just get back in the energy business and bring back America’s energy independence so that we can begin to export energy again and bring this tension down.”

Hagerty on the need to impose Russian sanctions now: “I think you’ve worded it very well, David. We are supportive of putting sanctions in place. I think President Biden’s going to have to turn this chapter now. Again, I’ve been supportive of doing it sooner. It’s been a debate about timing, but it’s time to move forward in that regard. I think President Biden has put himself in a very difficult situation now. It’s going to be extraordinarily difficult for him to justify sending troops. He’s also, you know, sending a small number of troops over to support NATO to stand that up. But he’s been unwilling to defend our own southern border, and it’s very hard to make the argument that troops should be used to defend another nation’s border. I think what he needs to be doing right now is focusing on sanctions. I agree with that as well. We will support that effort. And again, as you said, David, we need to do it in a fashion that allows us room to deal with escalation, but we should be doing that now. We should give Putin a taste of what’s to come.”

Hagerty on his communication with the Biden Administration: “We have been speaking with both Secretary [Antony] Blinken and with Secretary [Lloyd] Austin, our Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense. I’m certain that that will continue. Senator [Marsha] Blackburn from Tennessee and I both sent a letter to both Secretaries Blinken and to Secretary Austin yesterday, trying to get more clarity in terms of what the plan is, and we’ll continue to work with them as closely as we possibly can. Again, our support is needed to make this all work. We’ve been willing to support, and again, I’ve been willing to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 for some time. The Administration, I think, is finally coming around to that fact themselves. But again, I think we should also be going back to our own energy policies and going back to energy independence to put ourselves in a better strategic position to deal with Putin, and basically be speaking from a position of strength again.”

Hagerty on Federal Reserve nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin: “I’m in favor of, and I’m going to support Chairman [Jerome] Powell, but Chairman Powell has not advocated as Sarah Bloom Raskin has from a policy perspective that the [Federal Reserve] should be weaponized in the way that she has. She wants to essentially crush the oil and gas industry by de-banking them. But that’s not the only concern with Sarah Bloom Raskin. There’s a big concern about her ethics. She’s been not forthcoming about that. She’s not answered our Senior Ranking Member, Senator [Pat] Toomey’s, questions about her involvement with Reserve Trust. And she’s got some very serious issues that she’s got to deal with in terms of the revolving door in Washington.”

Hagerty on Bloom Raskin’s evasiveness: “It certainly is interesting that she said that she doesn’t remember and doesn’t recall on 35 different occasions. When asked directly about this, she can’t seem to provide us with the information to make this clear. What we do know is that four months after she left the [Obama] Administration, she goes on the board of this company, a fintech startup that had then applied for and then been denied the master account from the Federal Reserve. Once she makes the phone call to her former colleague at the Kansas City [Federal Reserve], somehow it happens. It comes through, and she takes a 1.5-million-dollar payment within a few more months. So, it certainly needs more clarification, I think. And we’d like to see that. We’ve not received it yet. We’re not ready to vote on her as a result.”

Hagerty on his ethical concerns with Bloom Raskin: “Actually, one of her former employees is the one that bought the stock from her. One of her former employees at the Fed bought it from the new private equity firm that he was associated with after they both left the Administration. But again, a very handsome payment, 1.5 million dollars for a couple years’ worth of work that resulted in this fintech startup being the only state-chartered fintech to actually have this master agreement. They market this as a big advantage. Others have applied and not gotten it. It’s interesting that this is the only one. Again, this is why we need clarity […] I have not seen what the Kansas City Fed’s complete reply’s been, but what I’d like to see is a complete reply from Ms. Raskin, which she’s failed to do at this point.”