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Judy Shelton testifies before Congress in February. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump's controversial Fed pick Judy Shelton appears to be blocked from joining the central bank's board, for now — a dramatic turn of events, marred by two senators who were expected to support her, but were in quarantine for COVID-related concerns.

Why it matters: Some Republicans broke ranks and opposed Shelton, who in the past has endorsed fringe economic policies and reversed her beliefs to be more in line with those of Trump. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris cast a crucial vote against Shelton on Tuesday, with the final tally coming out to 50-47.

Yes, but: Sen. Mitch McConnell changed his vote to "no" — a strategy that could revive Shelton's nomination down the line.

Details: Shelton's last hurdles to confirmation looked like a lock late last week when Sen. Mitch McConnell invoked cloture on her nomination. That is until Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that he was exposed to the coronavirus, forcing him to quarantine and miss the vote. Sen. Rick Scott was also absent as he quarantines.

  • On Monday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) came out against Shelton, but he was planning to be absent from the vote regardless.
  • Sens. Mitt Romney and Susan Collins voted against Shelton. Democrats unanimously opposed the nomination.

The big picture: All but one member of the Fed's seven-member board has been nominated by Trump.

  • Shelton is another setback for the president who's failed to fill the remaining two open slots on the Fed thanks to a string of unsuccessful candidates who have been unable to move forward — including the late Herman Cain and Stephen Moore.

What to watch: Still no word on a full Senate vote on Christopher Waller, director of research at the St. Louis Fed and the far less controversial candidate nominated by Trump.

Go deeper

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

Updated 40 mins ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and planned to travel to another destination afterward when the gang abducted them in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne's spent longer under lockdowns than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

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