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NASHVILLE — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee on Monday became the third Republican senator to announce he opposes economist Judy Shelton's nomination by President Donald Trump to be a governor of the Federal Reserve Board, saying he has reservations about her willingness to maintain the board's independence.

"I oppose the nomination of Judy Shelton because I am not convinced that she supports the independence of the Federal Reserve Board as much as I believe the Board of Governors should," Alexander said in a statement. "I don't want to turn over management of the money supply to a Congress and a President who can't balance the federal budget."

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah have said they will vote against Shelton, a Trump economic adviser who has advocated the U.S. return to the gold standard, tying the value of the U.S. dollar to gold. She is also known for her criticisms of the Fed.

Another concern is the issue raised by Alexander as well as Collins: Shelton's previous statements suggesting the Fed should be less independent of the political branches of government.

The Washington Post reported Alexander won't actually be in Washington this week to vote against Shelton's confirmation. An Alexander spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a Times Free Press inquiry as to whether Alexander would be absent with GOP leaders planning a vote on Wednesday.

Multiple news accounts say the confirmation vote is tight.

Contact Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.

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