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Senate confirms Lisa Cook as first Black lady on Federal Reserve Board

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Dr. Lisa DeNell Cook, of Michigan, nominated to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, speaks earlier than a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee affirmation listening to on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., February 3, 2022.

Ken Cedeno | Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed economist Lisa Cook on Tuesday evening to serve on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, making her the first Black lady to take a seat on the panel in its 108-year historical past.

Cook was confirmed in a 51-50 party-line vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

She will be part of the Fed at a difficult time because the central financial institution tries to rein in inflation. Last week, the Fed raised its core rate of interest because it battles inflation ranges that are actually at 40-year highs.

“As President Biden said today, addressing inflation remains a top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration, as we work to lower costs for hardworking families,” a White House official stated in an announcement after the Senate vote. “It is important to have a fully-staffed Federal Reserve who can take on these challenges for the American people.”

The board performs a key function in setting the central financial institution’s financial coverage.

Cook, an economics and worldwide relations professor at Michigan State University, was elected this yr to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s board of administrators. She served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers within the Obama administration and was a member of the Biden transition group.

Her analysis pursuits embody financial improvement, innovation, monetary establishments and markets, and financial historical past, and she or he has written about how Jim Crow legal guidelines affected long-term progress of the U.S. financial system.

In a November 2020 article revealed by The New York Times, Cook wrote about how “discrimination inflicts a staggering cost on the entire economy,” citing analysis that confirmed the far-reaching financial prices of racism.

Biden had the weird alternative to appoint three members to the Fed board after an unfilled emptiness was left over from the Trump administration.

When Biden introduced his nominees this yr, he stated in an announcement that they’d “bring much needed expertise, judgement and leadership to the Federal Reserve while at the same time bringing diversity of thought and perspective never seen before on the Board of Governors.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., described Cook as “eminently qualified for the position” shortly earlier than Tuesday’s vote.

“She’s a great Georgian. She comes from a family chock-full of achievers, and she’s going to do a great job,” he stated.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., insisted that Cook had a “glaring” lack of financial coverage expertise, a historical past of “extreme” left-wing political advocacy and “hostility” towards opposing viewpoints.

“Since we know very little about her views on inflation, my grave concern is that Professor Cook will serve as an inflation dove on the Fed at a time when American families continue to be ravaged by these price increases,” Toomey stated on the Senate ground earlier than the vote.

Republicans are centered on making inflation a high marketing campaign subject heading into the November midterm elections, after they hope to retake the House and the Senate.

Biden has different Fed nominees awaiting affirmation votes. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, advised reporters Tuesday he expects Fed Chairman Jerome Powell — who was nominated in January for a second time period — and Philip Jefferson, who would grow to be the fourth Black man to serve on the board, to be confirmed this week.

Their affirmation votes haven’t been scheduled but.

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