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Fed Nominee Lisa Cook Gets Step Closer to Senate Confirmation

© Reuters

(Bloomberg) — The full Senate voted to advance Federal Reserve nominee Lisa Cook’s nomination out of the deadlocked Banking Committee, potentially setting up final votes to confirm her and three other nominees to the central bank.

The 50-49 full Senate vote was needed after Republicans on the Banking Committee voted in unison against Cook, producing a 12-12 split. 

Even with Tuesday’s action on Cook, time is running short to confirm President Joe Biden’s slate of Fed picks before the Senate takes a two week recess in April. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to spend next week on confirming Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The other Fed nominees are Jerome Powell for a second term as Fed chair, Lael Brainard as vice chair and Philip Jefferson as a governor. Powell and Jefferson have broad bipartisan support, while Brainard won four GOP votes in committee.

Cook, who would be the first Black woman Fed governor, has been lauded by Democrats as an experienced economist who would bring a diverse perspective to the board. Republicans questioned her qualifications on monetary policy and her political activism.

Schumer criticized the GOP opposition before the vote. “For as much as Republicans talk about inflation, it’s bewildering and totally discrediting for them to reflexively oppose a qualified nominee like Ms. Cook,” he said.

Senator Pat Toomey, the top Republican on the Banking Committee, said on the Senate floor Tuesday he’s concerned Cook could further politicize the Federal Reserve. He cited what he called “extreme left-wing political advocacy and hostility to opposing viewpoints,” including blocking the Senate Banking GOP’s Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) account.

And he said Cook struggled to have an opinion on what should be done with monetary policy in her hearing.

“Professor Cook’s claim—made at her nomination hearing just last month—that ‘we have to be patient with the data’ on rising consumer prices shows that she will continue to be tolerant of letting inflation ravage American consumers,” he said.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Fed Nominee Lisa Cook Gets Step Closer to Senate Confirmation

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