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Michigan State University economist Lisa Cook finds racial disparities in how U.S. government relief funds are paid during the pandemic © Bloomberg

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, making her the first black woman to hold the position in the Fed’s 109-year history.

All 50 Democrats in the upper chamber of Congress voted for Cook, now an economics professor at Michigan State University, and Vice President Kamala Harris cast a decisive vote after Republicans voted unanimously against her appointment.

Cook served as a staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration for a two-year term that expires in January 2024.

Her confirmation process was affected multiple setbacksincluding Democrats who had to delay a final vote late last month because a coronavirus-related absence deprived her of enough support to pursue the nomination.

Republicans have opposed her nomination, accusing her of lacking relevant economic experience. Cook speaks six languages ​​and her research focuses on the economic costs of discrimination. Her research ranges from how racially motivated violence hinders innovation to the loss of output due to inequality.

Cook was nominated along with Davidson College Provost Philip Jefferson (expected to receive bipartisan support soon) and Sarah Bloom Raskin. quit consideration She became the next vice-chair for regulation after her views on climate-related financial risks lost key support.

President Joe Biden has since appointed former Treasury official Michael Barr to fill the position.

The Senate must also confirm Jay Powell for re-election as Fed chairman. Late last month, Lael Brainard was confirmed as vice chair.

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