- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 28, 2021

President Biden is considering nominating two women, one of whom is Black, and a Black man for key roles on the Federal Reserve in a bid to increase the central bank’s diversity, according to a report Monday.

Mr. Biden reportedly is considering Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Fed governor and Obama-era Treasury Department official, for vice chair of supervision, the nation’s top banking system regulator.

Also being considered: Lisa Cook, a professor of economics at Michigan State University, and Phillip Jefferson, a professor and administrator at Davidson College in North Carolina. Ms. Cook and Mr. Jefferson are Black.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the potential nominees.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Times.



In the Fed’s 108-year history, it has had only three Black board members, all of them men. The last Black board member, Roger Ferguson, left in 2006. If Ms. Cook is confirmed, she would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed’s board.

Mr. Biden last month pledged to nominate candidates who would improve diversity at the Fed.

“My additions will bring new perspectives and new voices,” Mr. Biden said. “I also pledge that my additions will bring new diversity to the Fed, which is much needed and long overdue in my view.”

His bid to reshape the Fed’s makeup will happen as the central bank fights rising inflation. The Fed is responsible for policies that keep prices stable and maximize employment, but inflation has soared to its highest levels since the 1980s and the supply chain crisis is forcing prices upward.

As the economic chaos and the COVID-19 pandemic surge, it will fall upon the Fed’s board to figure out how to combat inflation and keep the job market steady.

While the overall unemployment rate is roughly 4.6%, the figure is 7.9% for Black Americans and 5.9% for Hispanics. The rate for Whites is 4%.

Mr. Biden is hopeful that bringing in diverse perspectives will help alleviate racial inequality.

Ms. Raskin is the wife of Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland Democrat. She has pushed for economic policies that help combat climate change, making her a favorite of progressives in the Senate who bristled at Mr. Biden’s choice to offer Fed Chairman Jerome Powell a second term.

Progressives want the Fed to take bolder action to regulate banks and fight the climate crisis. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who opposed renominating Mr. Powell, is said to favor Ms. Raskin’s nomination.

Ms. Raskin has advocated using economic policy to fight against climate change, and wrote the foreword for a report by the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, a climate advocacy group.

“There is opportunity in pre-emptive, early and bold actions by federal economic policy makers looking to avoid catastrophe,” she wrote.

Mr. Jefferson has largely served as an academic since 1990, when he earned his doctoral degree from the University of Virginia. He was an economics professor at Swarthmore College from 1997 to 2019. He also spent a year as a staff economist at the Fed’s division of monetary affairs in the 1990s.

Ms. Cook was a senior economist for former President Barack Obama’s White House Council of Economic Advisers. She has a doctorate in economics from the University of California-Berkeley and bachelor’s degrees from Spelman College and the University of Oxford.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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