Fed’s Lisa Cook Confirmed by Senate to 14-Year Term as Governor

(Bloomberg) -- The US Senate confirmed Federal Reserve Governor Lisa Cook to a full 14-year term on a 51-47 vote Wednesday, with most Republicans again withholding their support.

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Cook, the first Black woman governor in the Fed’s history, needed Vice President Kamala Harris to break a 50-50 tie to win confirmation last year, with Republicans then questioning her monetary policy qualifications despite her work as an economist at Michigan State University.

Cook, however, has supported the Fed’s rate increases intended to cool price growth, and she testified in her confirmation hearing in June that she would continue to work to bring down inflation to the Fed’s 2% target. She also testified that she favors tailoring regulations based on a bank’s size so that smaller lenders don’t face the same burdens as bigger ones.

She won over a Republican senator on the Banking Committee — Mike Rounds of South Dakota. Rounds was also the only other Republican to back Adriana Kugler to the Fed governor slot previously held by Lael Brainard. Kugler, who would be the first Hispanic ever on the board, is up next for confirmation on the Senate floor.

The Senate earlier Wednesday backed Fed Governor Philip Jefferson’s nomination to a four-year term as vice chair on an 88-10 vote.

Senator Bill Hagerty, a Tennessee Republican, said in an interview that he still has concerns about Cook’s qualifications. He expressed concern about a coming regulatory push by Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr, including higher capital requirements at larger banks, which he said could increase borrowing costs and hurt the economy.

Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, who backed Jefferson last year, had placed a hold on the Fed nominations as part of a protest over what she called a lack of transparency at the Fed over bank supervision.

She said in an interview she opposed Jefferson on the floor after voting for him in the committee for that reason. She added she has been pushing the Fed board to meet lawmakers in a more casual setting than a hearing room to discuss oversight issues.

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