WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The Senate on Tuesday confirmed economist Lisa Cook to serve on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, making her the first black woman to do so in the institution’s 108-year history.
His approval was on a narrow, party-line vote of 51–50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote.
Senate Republicans argued that he was ineligible for the position, saying he did not have enough experience with interest rate policy. She also said that her testimony before the Senate Banking Committee suggested she was not committed enough to fight inflation, which is running at a four-decade high.
Cook holds a doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and has been Professor of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State since 2005. She was also a staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisors from 2011 to 2012 and was an advisor to President Joe Biden’s transition team on Fed and bank regulatory policy.
Some of his best-known research has focused on the impact of lynching and racial violence on African-American innovation.
Cook is only the second of Biden’s five nominees to win Senate confirmation for the Fed. Given the Fed’s history as an independent agency that wants to stay above politics, their Fed options have faced an unusual level of partisan opposition.
However, some critics allege that the Fed has contributed to increased scrutiny in recent years by addressing a wide range of issues, such as the role of climate change on financial stability and racial disparities in employment.
Biden called in the Senate early Tuesday to approve his candidates as the Fed attempts to tackle inflation.
“I would never interfere with the Fed,” Biden said. “The Fed should do its job and do its job, I believe.”
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is currently serving in a temporary capacity after his term ends in February. They were approved almost unanimously by the Senate Banking Committee in March.,
Fed Governor Lyle Brainard was confirmed two weeks ago By a 52-43 vote for the dominant Fed vice president position.
Philip Jefferson, an economics professor and dean at North Carolina’s Davidson College, was also nominated for the gubernatorial slot by Biden and approved unanimously by the finance committee. He will be the fourth black person to serve on the board of the Fed.
Biden also nominated Michael BarrowSarah Bloom Ruskin, a former Treasury Department official, faces opposition after her previous choice to be the Fed’s top banking regulator From West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.
Cook, Jefferson and Barr will join Brainard as Democratic appointees to the Fed. Yet most economists expect the Fed to continue on its path to rapid rate hikes this year.