On Tuesday, the Senate approved the nomination of economist Lisa Cook to serve on the board of governors of the Federal Reserve. She becomes the first Black woman to serve on the board in the institute’s 108-year history.
A narrow 51-50 party-line vote approved her, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote.
The Senate Republicans contend she lacks sufficient experience with interest rate policies, making her unqualified for the job.
Cook holds a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught economics and international relations at Michigan State since 2005. She was also a staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2011 to 2012 and an adviser for President Biden’s transition team on the Fed and bank regulation policy.
Many of her most well-known research projects have explored the impact of lynchings and racial violence on African American innovation.
In fact, Cook is only the second of Biden’s five Fed nominees to win Senate confirmation. Biden’s Fed choices have faced unusual levels of partisan opposition, given the Fed’s history as an independent organization that seeks to remain above politics.
Critics say the Fed has contributed to the increased scrutiny in recent years by addressing more issues, such as climate change’s impact on financial stability and racial inequality in employment.
Biden urged the Senate to approve his nominees as the Fed seeks to combat inflation early Tuesday.