Biden Announces Historic Fed Nominations
President Joe Biden made two historic nominations to the Federal Reserve board on Friday: the first Latina governor and the second black vice chairman.
Biden proposed Adriana Kugler as Fed Governor and nominated current Federal Reserve Governor Philip Jefferson to be central bank vice chairman — which would make him the No. 2 candidate to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.
Both choices are expected to sail through the Senate confirmation process.
Kugler’s confirmation, a Colombian-American, would meet long-standing complaints from NJ Senator Bob Menendez, an influential Democrat who has denounced the historic absence of Hispanics from the leadership of the US central bank.
“We are finally giving Latinos, all 62 million of us who call this country home, a seat at the table where the most profound monetary policy decisions are made,” Menendez said in a statement, pledging to fight for prompt confirmations for all three in the sharply divided Senate.
Jefferson — who became Fed governor last year when Biden’s three picks made the seven-member board the most diverse yet — was elevated to replace Lael Brainard.
Brainard left her post in February after nine years as Fed vice chair to join Biden’s National Economic Council.
Jefferson, 61, would become the second black vice chairman since Roger Ferguson took the position about 20 years ago.
Also Friday, Lisa Cook — who joined the Fed at the same time as Jefferson last year — was reappointed to a full 14-year term on the Governing Council. If she agrees, her term will be extended from the current end date of January 2024.
When Cook was confirmed to the board of directors last year, the 58-year-old economist became the first black woman to join the central bank’s leadership.
“These nominees understand that this is not a partisan job, but plays a critical role in pursuing maximum employment, maintaining price stability and overseeing many of our nation’s financial institutions,” Biden said in a statement.
“I am confident that these nominees will help build on the historically strong economic recovery we have had under my administration,” he added.
The nominations for the world’s best central bank come as the Fed opens a new chapter in its battle against high inflation.
Last week, Powell suggested the Fed could raise rates. He cited a “meaningful change” in the Fed’s language from its March statement, dropping a key phrase – that additional policy increases might be appropriate, suggesting a pause is very likely.
Powell’s remarks came on the same day the Fed approved a 25 basis point hike – the 10th straight hike to reverse decades-high inflation.
According to figures released Wednesday, the consumer price index, excluding food and energy, rose 5.5% in April — a slight decline from the 5.6% increase the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Total CPI rose 4.9% last month – another drop from March’s 5%.
Core inflation, which measures what consumers pay for key household goods, rose 0.4%.
The CPI’s latest inflation numbers reflected rising prices for lodging, gasoline and used cars. However, the numbers were offset by falling rates on oil, new cars and food.