Lisa Cook is First Ever Black Woman to Serve on Federal Reserve Board

Federal Reseve Board
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Lisa Cook, a Michigan State University professor of economics recognized for her efforts on racial and gender inequity, was confirmed by the United States Senate to serve on the Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday, making her the first Black woman to serve on the board in its 109-year existence, Reuters reported.

Cook will join the Federal Reserve as it faces a daunting task: taming 40-year-high inflation that is taxing family budgets and wrecking US President Joe Biden’s support ratings without jeopardizing the world’s largest economy’s strong national labor market.

Sherrod Brown, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, dubbed Cook’s appointment “historic.”

No Republican voted for her, and the top Republican on the Banking Committee, Patrick Toomey, expressed concern that she would not be harsh enough on inflation.

In the equally split Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote, making the final result 51-50. Cook will be in office until January 2024.

“That is fantastic news,” said Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, as quoted by Reuters. “Lisa was a student of mine. She is a fantastic economist and will bring a welcome voice.”

The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates for the first time in 2018 in March, and the first of what is likely to be a succession of half-point rate rises, double the typical amount, was delivered last week as officials try to dampen surging demand for both products and labor.

Cook, who, together with the remaining seven board members and the CEOs of the 12 regional Fed banks, will assist set US monetary policy, is unlikely to reverse course.

Last month, the Senate approved Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard as the vice-chair of the US central bank, with some Republicans joining Democrats in her support.

Two other Fed candidates, Jerome Powell, who was renominated to his present post as chair, and Davidson College dean of faculty Philip Jefferson, who, like Cook, is Black and an economist, have bipartisan support, although it is unclear when the Senate will consider their confirmations.

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