The first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve Board will be Biden nominee Lisa Cook, a Michigan State economist, after Kamala Harris broke the tie in a 50-50 Senate vote where of course, just as with Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, every single Republican voted against the extremely qualified Black woman.
The economist Lisa Cook was confirmed Tuesday as the first Black woman on the Federal Reserve Board in a historic moment for the central bank as it tries to stabilize a recovery that serves all Americans.
Cook was confirmed by a 51-to-50 vote in the Senate, with Vice President Harris casting the tiebreaking vote. No Republicans voted for Cook, and Democrats, who hold a razor-thin majority, had delayed moving forward on her nomination until they could assemble all 50 of their members to back her.
Cook is among the country’s preeminent economists and teaches at Michigan State University. Her research has focused on macroeconomics, economic history, international finance and innovation, particularly on how hate-related violence has harmed U.S. economic growth. Her work has analyzed how patent records show that the riots, lynchings and Jim Crow laws that targeted African American communities in the late 1800s and early 1900s hurt Black people’s ability to pursue inventions and discoveries at the time.
“If there is something that impedes the rate of arrival of ideas, you’re going to slow down the economy,” Cook said on the “Planet Money” podcast in 2020. “It’s not just for that period. And it’s not just for Black people. This is a cautionary tale for all economies.”
Cook also worked on the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration and has held visiting appointments at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the University of Michigan and the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and Philadelphia.
President Biden has sought to assemble the most diverse Fed board in the agency’s 108-year history. And Fed experts say the package of nominees the White House recently named goes a long way toward fulfilling Biden’s promise to make the Fed more reflective of the country it serves.
Republicans lost their shit over this, to the point where Mitch McConnell held a press conference and warned President Biden that he should pull Cook's nomination as a Black woman on the Federal Reserve or else. Republicans were able to stall the vote for three months, in fact.
But it's Cook's historic macroeconomics work on the billions lost through racism that Republicans can never tolerate. It's too bad though, Cook will be on the Fed anyway.
Biden did that.