Biden Fed picks get boost from dozens of economists

Greg Nash

A group of 180 economists wrote to Senate and committee leadership on Tuesday voicing support for President Biden’s Federal Reserve nominees and urging the chamber to confirm them quickly, as some of the picks faced scrutiny from Republican lawmakers.  

The list of signatories includes several prominent economists, including former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Blinder.  

The letter describes the five pending nominees as “highly qualified” for the roles and argued their confirmation is critical to the stability of the U.S. economy.  

“With our country facing a number of pressing economic challenges, including a global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, rising prices, depressed labor force participation, and stark racial disparities in employment, it is imperative that the Federal Reserve System has a full seven-member Board of Governors,” states the letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). 

“If confirmed, the current slate of nominees would allow the Federal Reserve to vigorously pursue its dual mandate of full employment and price stability—a mission that has an immense impact on the lives of all Americans,” it continues. 

The letter, which was first reported by Politico, was organized by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and highlighted by the White House on Tuesday morning. 

Sarah Bloom Raskin, Biden’s nominee to serve as the Fed’s vice chair of supervision, has encountered scrutiny from Republicans over work she did at due to her work at a fintech firm as well as her stance on climate change.   

White House press secretary Jen Psaki characterized Raskin as “one of the most, if not the most, qualified person to ever be nominated to this position” during a briefing with reporters on Monday when asked about the criticism the pick has received from Republicans.  

Biden has renominated Jerome Powell to serve as Fed chairman and Lail Brainard as vice chair, both of whom are expected to be easily confirmed by the Senate.  

Additionally, Biden has nominated Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to serve on the Fed Board of Governors. If confirmed, Cook would be the first Black woman to serve on the board since its creation 108 years ago. 

The signatories of Tuesday’s letter also include Austan Goolsbee, former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama; Sandra Black, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under Obama; and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, among dozens more.  

Tags Alan Blinder Austin Goolsbee Barack Obama Ben Bernanke Biden nominees Chuck Schumer Federal Reserve Jen Psaki Jerome Powell Joe Biden Mitch McConnell Pat Toomey Sandra Black Sarah Bloom Raskin Sherrod Brown

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