Economist Lisa Cook has become the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in the 108-year history of the organisation.
On a 51-50 vote, Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding vote in her favour, on Tuesday, May 10, as the Senate approved Cook, according to AP
Cook is the second of Biden’s five Fed candidates to be confirmed by the Senate. Given the Fed’s reputation as an independent organisation that attempts to remain above politics, his Fed picks have met unusual partisan opposition.
Republicans in the Senate have argued that she is unfit for the job because she lacks experience in interest rate policy. They also said that her testimony before the Senate Banking Committee showed she wasn’t committed enough to combating inflation, which is at four-decade highs.
Cook earned her Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught economics and international relations at Michigan State University since 2005.
From 2011 to 2012, she worked as a staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers and advised President Joe Biden’s transition team on Fed and bank regulation issues.
The impact of lynchings and racial violence on African-American invention has been the subject of some of her most well-known research. Cook combines expertise and excitement to forceful advocacy for women and minorities in the field as a member of a very small minority—African-American female economics.
As the Fed attempts to combat inflation, Biden urged the Senate to confirm his candidates early Tuesday.
After his term ended in February, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is currently functioning in a temporary role. In March, he received nearly unanimous approval from the Senate Banking Committee.
Lael Brainard, a Fed governor, was confirmed as the Fed’s powerful vice chair two weeks ago by a 52-43 majority.
Biden also proposed Philip Jefferson, an economics professor and dean at Davidson College in North Carolina, for a governorship, which was unanimously approved by the Finance Committee. He would be the Fed’s fourth African-American board member.
After a previous nominee, Sarah Bloom Raskin, drew opposition from West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, Biden has proposed Michael Barr, a former Treasury Department official, to be the Fed’s top banking regulator.
Cook, Jefferson, and Barr would be Democratic Fed appointees, joining Brainard. However, most analysts believe the Fed will continue to boost rates aggressively this year.