Lisa Cook becomes the first black woman confirmed as Fed governor

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

His confirmation came after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 draw in the Senate, bringing the Biden administration closer to reshaping the central bank’s leadership team.

Ms. Cook, a Michigan State University economist who has studied racial disparities and labor markets, was named along with a list of other officials: the White House had the opportunity to fill two open positions as governor and to choose a new president and vice president of central bank supervision.

Lael Brainard, President Biden’s choice for Fed Vice President, is the only one of his Fed candidates who had has already been confirmed.

Mr. Biden also named Philip N. Jefferson, academic economist and administrator of Davidson College, and renamed Jerome H. Powell as Fed chairman. His initial candidate for Fed vice chairman for oversight, Sarah Bloom Raskin, has retired. from consideration in the midst of the republican and democratic opposition. Michael S Barr what accept the job more recently, and is still awaiting an appointment hearing.

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

Fed board governors in Washington constantly vote on monetary policy and control the nation’s largest banks. They set interest rates to drive 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 Biden’s candidates on the board are likely to stick to the course the central bank has already begun to chart. the fed increased interest rates at his March meeting and made a even greater rate increase at his meeting last week. It will also imminently begin reducing its balance sheet of bond holdings in an effort to raise longer-term interest rates and slow the economy further.

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 meets demand. During their hearings, all candidates made it clear that they were committed to reducing high inflation.

“High inflation is a major threat to a long and sustained expansion, which we know raises the standard of living for all Americans and leads to shared and widespread prosperity,” said Ms Cook. during his testimony. “This is why I am committed to keeping inflation expectations well anchored”.

Ms. Cook has a doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. She has a history of mentoring young economists, including through the American Economic Association’s summer program, which aims to increase diversity in the field of economics.