On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed economist Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, making her the first African American woman to be on the panel in its 108-year history, CNN reports.
The vote was 51-50 in the end, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. Senate Republicans opposed Cook’s confirmation, with several claiming she doesn’t have sufficient experience for the position.
“Professor Cook has no proven expertise in monetary economics at all, much less fighting inflation,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell before the vote. “Professor Cook is a proven partisan who has promoted left-wing conspiracy theories and called for a fellow academic to be fired because that person did not support defunding the police.”
Cook holds a doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught economics and international relations at Michigan State University for 17 years, NPR reports.
In addition, from 2011 to 2012, she was a staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and she advised President Biden’s transition team on the Fed and bank regulatory policy.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio who chairs the Banking Committee, defended Cook against claims that she isn’t fit for the job.
“Cook is unquestionably qualified and possesses bipartisan support from top economists, former Fed governors, bankers and civil rights organizations. Despite her broad support, a small but loud minority have wrongly claimed that Lisa Cook doesn’t meet the standards for this position — standards that only seem to apply for certain nominees,” he said. “She will bring a critical voice to the Fed — one that has been missing for far too long.”
Cook stated during her confirmation hearing that she will bring “diverse perspectives” to the Fed, allowing it to better carry out its mission of combating inflation and maintaining low unemployment.