Biden picks 3 people to serve on Fed board, including first black woman

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will nominate three members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, including Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Fed and Treasury official, to the top regulatory position, And Lisa Cook will be the first black woman to serve on the Fed’s board.

Biden will also nominate economist Philip Jefferson, president of Davidson College in North Carolina and a former Fed researcher, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly on Thursday. The three nominees, who must be confirmed by the Senate, will fill the Fed’s seven-member committee.

The nominee will join the Fed at a particularly challenging time when the central bank will take on the delicate task of raising benchmark interest rates in an attempt to tame high inflation without undermining the recovery from the pandemic recession.On Wednesday, the government reported that inflation had reached December hits four-year high. Inflation has become the economy’s worst problem, a burden on millions of American families and a political threat to a Biden administration.

Ruskin’s nomination as vice chairman of Fed supervision — the nation’s top bank regulator — will be welcomed by progressive senators and advocacy groups who believe she may be a better candidate than Trump’s appointee, Randal Quarles. ) take a tougher approach to banking regulation. From that post last month. She is also seen as working to incorporate climate change into the Fed’s oversight of banks. For that reason, though, she has drawn opposition from some Republican senators.

Ruskin, 60, trained at Harvard and previously served on the Fed’s seven-member board from 2010 to 2014. President Barack Obama then chose her to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, the department’s No. 2 position.

As Fed governors, Ruskin, Cook and Jefferson will vote on interest rate policy decisions at the eight-a-year meeting of the Fed’s policy-making committee, which also includes 12 regional Fed presidents.

Ruskin’s first term as a Fed governor came after she served as Maryland’s commissioner of financial regulation. Prior to his government career, Ruskin was an attorney at Arnold & Porter, a prominent Washington law firm, and a managing director at Promontory Financial Group.

Kathleen Murphy, CEO of the Massachusetts Bankers Association. Ruskin served as Maryland’s banking regulator from 2007 to 2010. Murphy led the Maryland Bankers Group, and he worked with Russ Working with Kim. Murphy said the state’s financial industry sees her as a “strong regulator, but also a fair regulator.”

“She’s always had a very collaborative approach,” Murphy said. “She wants to make sure all voices are at the table when making decisions.”

Still, Ruskin could come under fire from critics for her progressive views on climate change and the oil and gas industry. Two years ago, she criticized the Fed’s willingness to support lending to oil and gas companies in a New York Times opinion column as part of its efforts to support the financial sector during the worst of the pandemic recession.

“The Fed’s decisions on our behalf should build a stronger economy and provide more jobs in innovative industries — not support and enrich dying industries,” Ruskin wrote of oil and gas suppliers. .”

On Thursday, Senator Pat Toomey, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, criticized Ruskin for “clearly advocating for the Fed by refusing to allocate capital to this unpopular sector.”

Ruskin, who is married to Rep. Jamie Ruskin, a liberal Democrat from Maryland, gained widespread attention as a member of the House Judiciary Committee when impeachment charges were brought against President Donald Trump.

If confirmed, Cook and Jefferson would become the fourth and fifth black members in the Fed’s 108-year history. Since 2005, she has been a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University. She also served as a staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2011 to 2012, and served as an advisor to the Federal Reserve and Bank’s Biden-Harris transition team on regulatory policy.

Cook is known for her research on the impact of racial violence on African American invention and innovation. A paper she wrote in 2013 concluded that racially motivated violence undermined the rule of law and threatened personal safety, reducing patent awards to black Americans by 15 percent per year between 1882 and 1940 — she found The loss also hampered the broader U.S. economy.

Cook said in an interview in October that she had struggled for years to get the paper published, despite being encouraged by prominent economists such as Milton Friedman and George Akerlof. Major economics journals typically don’t cover “patents, economic history or anything that has anything to do with African Americans,” she said.

Cook has also been an advocate for black women in economics, a career that is significantly less diverse than other social sciences. In 2019, she co-authored an op-ed in The New York Times claiming that “economics is neither a popular nor a pro-women career for women” and that it is “particularly bad for black women.”

To address these issues, Cook spent time mentoring young black women in economics, directed a summer program run by the American Economic Association, and in 2019 won a mentoring award.

Jefferson grew up in a working-class family in Washington, D.C. Interview with the American Economic Association, whose research focuses on poverty and monetary policy. In a 2005 paper, he concluded that the benefits of falling unemployment for low-skilled workers from a hot economy outweighed the costs, including the risk that companies would adopt automation once labor became scarce.

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Associated Press writer Josh Bock in Washington contributed to this report.

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