Senate Approves Biden Nominee to Federal Reserve Board, With Harris Breaking Tie

By: The Epoch Times

Lisa Cook, of Michigan, nominated to be a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, speaks before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Feb. 3, 2022. (Ken Cedeno/Reuters)

The Senate on May 10 approved a President Joe Biden nominee to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (Fed), with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote.

Every Republican in the upper chamber voted against Lisa Cook’s nomination. Every Democrat and nominal independent voted for the nomination.

Harris, as president of the Senate, stepped in and broke the tie—the 18th time she’s done so since taking office.

Cook, who will leave her position as a professor at Michigan State University, had been blocked by Senate Republicans.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, said in a floor speech before the vote that Cook “is grossly unqualified” to serve on the board, noting that most of her work at the university has dealt with international relations, not economics, and that none of her publications concern monetary economics.

“When asked to highlight for the Banking Committee her top works on monetary policy, she provided only one: A book chapter on Nigerian bank reforms, originally published 11 years ago,” Toomey said.

“Given Professor Cook’s glaring lack of experience in monetary policy, it is perhaps not surprising that Professor Cook has been unable to articulate any opinion at all on how the Fed should tackle inflation,” he added.

Cook said in her nomination hearing that the Fed’s most important task is combating inflation. She said the best way would be to continue what the Fed is already doing, despite inflation soaring under Biden.

“I am certainly, when I think about these issues, I would like to look at the data and evidence that would be at one’s disposal if confirmed to be able to make a decision on this,” she said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), chairman of the Senate banking panel, accused Republicans of being racist because Cook is black and noted she would be the first black woman on the board.

Brown said Cook “understands how economic policy affects all kinds of different people in different parts of the country” and said he liked how most of her experience dealt with international relations because it means she “knows real people.”

Toomey noted Republicans have unanimously supported eight black nominees, including six women, for economic positions in the government, including Ventris Gibson, the first black woman to be director of the U.S. mint.

Biden thanked the Senate for confirming Cook and urged lawmakers to confirm his remaining nominees “without delay.”

After the Senate blocked one of Biden’s other nominees, Sarah Bloom Raskin, Biden withdrew her nomination in March, but several others are awaiting votes, including Philip Jefferson.

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