Lisa Cook becomes first black woman confirmed as Fed governor

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Lisa D. Cook as governor of the Federal Reserve, making her the first black woman to hold the influential political post.

His confirmation came after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 Senate tie, bringing the Biden administration one step closer to overhauling the central bank’s leadership team.

Ms Cook, an economist at Michigan State University who has researched racial disparities and labor markets, was named alongside a list of other officials – President Biden was lucky enough to fill two vacant governor and choose a new president, vice president and vice president. supervisory chair at the central bank.

Lael Brainard, Mr. Biden’s choice for vice-president of the Fed, is the only one of his Fed candidates who had already been confirmed.

Mr. Biden also appointed Philip N. Jefferson, an academic economist and administrator at Davidson College, and he reappointed Jerome H. Powell as Fed chairman. His first nominee for Fed vice president for oversight, Sarah Bloom Raskin, withdrew from consideration amid Republican and some Democratic opposition. Michael S. Barr was nominated for the position more recently, and he is still awaiting a confirmation hearing.

If those additional nominees are confirmed, Mr. Biden will have appointed or reappointed five of the Fed’s seven governors. The Fed is independent of politics, so these appointments are the primary means by which the White House can shape the future of monetary policy, which is used to keep inflation stable and employment high.

Fed board governors in Washington hold constant votes on monetary policy and oversee the nation’s largest banks. They set interest rates to guide the economy alongside 12 regional reserve bank presidents, five of whom hold a vote at any given time.

The Fed is now battling stubbornly high inflation, and Mr. Biden’s nominees for the board should stick to the course the central bank has already begun charting. The Fed raised interest rates at its March meeting and raised rates even further at its meeting last week. It will also imminently start trimming its bond balance sheet in a bid to drive up long-term interest rates and further slow the economy.

By making money more expensive to borrow, the Fed is trying to slow spending and hiring, which could allow inflation to moderate over time as supply catches up with demand. During their auditions, the candidates all made it clear that they were determined to bring down high inflation.

“High inflation is a grave threat to a long and sustained expansion, which we know raises the standard of living for all Americans and leads to widespread, shared prosperity,” Cook said during her testimony. “That’s why I’m committed to keeping inflation expectations well anchored.”

Ms. Cook holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. She is used to mentoring young economists, notably through the American Economic Association’s summer program, which aims to increase diversity in the field of economics.

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