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Biden delivers on promise to add diversity to Fed, appoints women and minorities to central bank

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Biden delivers on promise to add diversity to Fed, appoints women and minorities to central bank

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President Biden appointed a black man and two women, one of whom is black, to key Federal Reserve positions on Friday, fulfilling a campaign pledge to increase diversity at the central bank.

In a statement, Biden said the trio of candidates will provide the Fed with “strong and independent leadership.”

Mr Biden has appointed Sarah Bloom Raskin – a former Fed governor and senior Treasury Department official under the Obama administration – as vice president of oversight, the country’s main regulator of the banking system.

Ms Raskin is the wife of Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat from Maryland and Biden’s best ally in Congress.

The president also appointed Lisa Cook, professor of economics at Michigan State University, and Phillip Jefferson, professor and administrator at Davidson College in North Carolina, to serve as governors on the board of directors of the Fed. Ms. Cook and Mr. Jefferson are both black.

“They will continue the important work of guiding us on a path to a strong and sustainable recovery, while ensuring that price increases do not take hold over the long term,” Biden said in the statement.

In the Fed’s 108-year history, it has only had three black members on the board, all of them men. The last black member of the board, Roger Ferguson, left in 2006. If Ms Cook is confirmed, she would be the first black woman to sit on the Fed’s board of directors.

Last month, Biden pledged to nominate candidates who would improve diversity at the Fed.

“My additions will bring new perspectives and new voices,” Biden said. “I also promise that my additions will bring new diversity to the Fed, which is much needed and long overdue in my opinion.”

The Fed is responsible for policies that keep prices stable and maximize employment, but inflation has hit its highest levels since the 1980s and the supply chain crisis is forcing prices up.

As economic chaos and the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, it will be up to the Fed’s board of directors to find a way to fight inflation and keep the job market stable.

While the overall unemployment rate is around 4.6%, the figure is 7.9% for black Americans and 5.9% for Hispanics. The rate for whites is 4%.

Biden said bringing diverse perspectives would help reduce racial inequalities.

Ms Raskin has pushed for economic policies that help fight climate change, making her a favorite of Senate progressives who have bristled over Mr Biden’s choice to offer the Fed chairman a second term , Jerome Powell.

Progressives want the Fed to take bolder action to regulate banks and tackle the climate crisis. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts who opposed the appointment of Mr Powell, is said to be in favor of the appointment of Ms Raskin.

Ms Raskin advocated the use of economic policy to tackle climate change and wrote the foreword to a report by the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, a climate advocacy group.

“There is an opportunity in the preventive, early and bold actions of federal economic decision-makers seeking to avert disaster,” she wrote.

Mr. Jefferson has been primarily an academic since 1990 when he received his doctorate from the University of Virginia. He was Professor of Economics at Swarthmore College from 1997 to 2019. He also spent a year as an economist in the monetary affairs division of the Fed in the 1990s.

Ms. Cook was a senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers to former President Obama. She holds a doctorate in economics from the University of California-Berkeley and a BA from Spelman College and the University of Oxford.

Biden delivers on promise to add diversity to Fed, appoints women and minorities to central bank

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