- The Washington Times - Friday, January 14, 2022

President Biden on Friday nominated a Black man and two women, one of whom is Black, for key roles at the Federal Reserve, fulfilling a campaign pledge to increase diversity at the central bank.

In a statement, Mr. Biden said the trio of nominees will bring “sound, independent leadership” to the Fed.

Mr. Biden nominated Sarah Bloom Raskin — a former Fed governor and a top Treasury Department official during the Obama administration — for vice chair of supervision, the nation’s top banking system regulator.

Mrs. Raskin is the wife of Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat and top Biden ally in Congress.

The president also nominated Lisa Cook, a professor of economics at Michigan State University, and Phillip Jefferson, a professor and administrator at Davidson College in North Carolina to serve as governors on the Fed board.

“They will continue the important work of steering us on a path to a strong, sustainable recovery, while making sure that price increases do not become entrenched over the long term,” Mr. Biden said in the statement.

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.”

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 white people is 4%.

Mr. Biden has said that bringing in diverse perspectives will help alleviate racial inequality.

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

Liberals 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 policymakers looking to avoid catastrophe,” she wrote.

Mr. Jefferson has mostly 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 on former President 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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