By a single vote, Lisa Cook has made history this Tuesday. The economist becomes the first black woman to sit on the board of the Federal Reserve, the all-powerful US central bank. The vote that made the difference was precisely that of another woman who jumped racial barriers to reach her position: Vice President Kamala Harris.
The Senate has 100 senators and right now there are 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats. In case of a tie, the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, has the casting vote. By 50-51, the Senate has given the go-ahead for Cook to become Fed adviser (or governor, in local terminology).
Equality in the Chamber shows the importance of the mid-term legislative elections on November 8, in which a third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives are renewed. The Senate has previously knocked down a proposal for the appointment of President Joe Biden to the Federal Reserve. Until Tuesday’s vote, he had only gotten confirmation from Fed Vice President Lael Brainard last month.
The Democrats had not even dared to put to a vote the renewal of the mandate of Jerome Powell, who has been in office since February. Biden has proposed him for a second term and despite the fact that he was originally appointed by the previous president, Donald Trump, Biden did not trust that the Senate would agree to renew him in office.
The ratification of another Biden proposal is also pending, the also African-American Philip Jefferson, the fourth black man to enter the Fed leadership and the first to do so since 2006. The confirmation of Michael Barr is also pending, after the president withdraw Sarah Bloom Raskin’s proposal, which would have allowed the Fed to be headed by a majority of women, due to lack of support.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
Senate Republican spokesman Mitch McConnell defended his party’s denial of Cook’s confirmation by saying she was unprepared for the job, despite his impressive resume and that it was a partisan and leftist appointment.
Lisa Cook was until now Professor of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State University. She was the first Marshall Scholar at Spelman College and graduated with a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford. She has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in macroeconomics and international economics. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Associate Director for Research on Africa at Harvard University’s Center for International Development, and a National Fellow at Stanford University.
He has also served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama (he has pinned a tweet thanking the Obamas on his Twitter profile). He has had visiting appointments at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the University of Michigan, and the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. He was on the Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors It consists of seven members. They have a total term of 14 years, although it is rare for them to complete it. Every two years the mandate of one of them begins, proposed by the president and approved by the Senate. The chairmen and vice chairmen of the Federal Reserve serve a four-year term. They are appointed by the President of the United States from among the councilors. They must also pass the Senate exam. Currently, Jerome Powell is the president; Lael Brainard, the vice president; and Michelle W. Bowman and Christopher J. Waller are the other directors awaiting the addition of Cook, Jefferson and Barr.
The Federal Reserve must deal with the highest inflation in decades and to do so has accelerated the rate of interest rate hikes. This same Wednesday the evolution of the previous ones in April will be known.
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