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Lisa Cook Confirmed As First Black Woman On Federal Reserve Board


The Senate Banking Committee deadlocked on advancing Cook to the ground in a 12-12 vote. With the intention to get her confirmed, the complete Senate needed to as a substitute vote to discharge her nomination out of committee ― which passed along party lines in late March.

Democrats tried to maneuver Cook forward on the ground last month, but they didn’t have enough votes to beat opposition due to the absence of two senators who had contracted COVID-19.

In March, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the committee’s rating member, said Cook “has nearly zero experience in monetary policy” and “appears to don’t have any opinion in any respect on how the Fed should address inflation.”

Many other members of the Fed ― including ones supported by Republicans ― have had little to no experience in monetary policy. And monetary policy expertise shouldn’t be a requirement to be on the board.

Jerome Powell, the present Fed chair, for instance, is a lawyer who was a partner on the private equity giant The Carlyle Group. Michelle Bowman, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, worked within the banking industry and the federal government. She has a law degree in addition to a bachelor’s in journalism and promoting.

Daniel Tarullo, who served as a Fed board member from 2009 to 2017, was also a lawyer. And in a speech on the Brookings Institution a couple of months after he stepped down, he admitted that he was removed from an authority on monetary policy when President Barack Obama nominated him.

In April, Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (Ohio) said Republicans needs to be “ashamed” by their opposition to Cook.

“Twelve out of 12 [Republicans in committee] voted against Lisa Cook, saying she’s not qualified ― Truman scholar, Marshall scholar, I think, too, Ph.D. from Berkeley, graduated from Spelman, teaches at Michigan State,” Brown said. “We see a habit, a consistent pattern of that. So we get no help from them to fill out the Federal Reserve. It’s been 109 years, and 7 people on the Federal Reserve at one time, and never one African American woman ever. They needs to be ashamed.”

Biden has also nominated Philip Jefferson, who can be Black and is an economics professor at Davidson College. If he’s confirmed, the Fed could have a couple of Black person on the board of governors for the primary time in its history. Democrats are also waiting to verify Powell to a different term as board chair.

Jefferson received unanimous support from the Banking Committee, while Powell had just one senator ― Warren ― in opposition.

Republicans ― together with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) ― blocked one in every of Biden’s other Fed nominees, Sarah Bloom Raskin, over concerns that she advocated for the Fed to be more proactive in addressing the financial risks posed by climate change.

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