The US Senate confirmed, Tuesday, May 10, the appointment as Governor of the US Federal Reserve (Fed, central bank) of economist Lisa Cook. The candidate chosen by President Joe Biden becomes the first black woman to hold this position in the 108-year history of the monetary institution.
Senators voted 51 to 50 in favor, with US Vice President Kamala Harris’ vote securing a majority. His appointment had been met with strong opposition. The senators were thus, at the end of April, unable to organize a final confirmation vote, the Republicans being opposed to this appointment. Their leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, had even criticized Lisa Cook for having “pushed conspiracy theories” around racism and the police.
Lisa Cook served as a White House economic adviser during the Barack Obama era; she was also on Joe Biden’s transition team. For her supporters, she will bring a new perspective to the mighty Fed.
A childhood in the South
A professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University, she has devoted much of her research to the previously unmeasured economic scars of discrimination on the productive capacity of the larger economy. of the world. She is also a graduate in economics from the University of Oxford and holds a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. She speaks five languages, including French and Russian. She also worked on Rwanda’s recovery from the 1994 genocide.
“My beliefs were shaped by growing up in Milledgeville, Georgia [sud-est des Etats-Unis]. It was the South being desegregated”she explained on February 3, during her hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. “Both sides of my family were promoting nonviolent change alongside a family friend, the Reverend Martin Luther King”she added.
She “was one of the first black children to enter her public school, and she has spent her life breaking down racial and gender barriers”had then greeted the democratic senator of Georgia Raphael Warnock.
The daughter of a Baptist chaplain and a teacher in a nursing school, she also bears the physical scar of racism under her right eye, after being attacked as a child when she attended a school previously reserved for white students. In her native region, rather than allowing black people access to public swimming pools, they were destroyed, which led this economist to observe in her work the consequences of this discrimination, which, she explains , slowed down the whole of society, not just the direct victims of injustice.
A council of governors to be remodeled
His mandate runs until January 2024, and his appointment comes at a time when the central bank must fight against the return of inflation, without weighing on economic growth and employment.
“Dr. Cook understands how economic policy affects all Americans. She knows that workers are the engine of our growth and she understands that when everyone participates in our economy, it grows faster and stronger.”greeted the democratic senator of Ohio Sherrod Brown in a press release.
With this confirmation by the Senate, Lisa Cook obtains one of the many positions that Joe Biden has to fill within the Fed, giving him the opportunity to reshape the board of governors of the institution. Lael Brainard, who had been the only Democrat since 2014, was confirmed at the end of April as vice-president of the monetary institution.
The plenum of the Senate has yet to decide on the reappointment of President Jerome Powell, to whom Joe Biden has offered a second four-year term, as well as on the appointment as governor of the African-American Philip Jefferson, a economics professor who would become the fourth black man on the Fed board.
The White House must now propose a new candidate for the key post of vice president for banking regulation, after Sarah Bloom Raskin, who had been chosen, gave up for lack of sufficient support.