Senate panel to hear from MSU economist, Fed nominee Lisa Cook

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Washington — Senators on the banking committee will question Michigan State University economist Lisa Cook on Thursday as one of President Joe Biden’s nominees for the Federal Reserve, and she’s expected to get a grilling from Republican lawmakers. 

If confirmed, Cook would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed’s seven-member board of governors, who serve terms of up to 14 years. The central bank’s mandate is to promote stable prices and maximum employment.

A Georgia native, Cook has taught at MSU since 2005, where she is a professor of economics and international relations. She was named a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago last month, and previously served as a senior Treasury Department adviser and on President Barack Obama’s White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2011-12.

“The depth and breadth of my experience in both the public and private sectors qualify me to serve as a Federal Reserve governor, and, should I be confirmed, I would be honored to work with my colleagues to help navigate this critical moment for our nation’s economy and the global economy,” Cook said in testimony submitted to the panel.

President Joe Biden nominated Michigan State University professor Lisa Cook, an economist, for the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors. If confirmed, she'd be the first Black woman to serve on the board.

Her nomination last month was lauded by bankers, former Federal Reserve governors and top-tier economists. But some conservatives are concerned that she would politicize the nonpartisan board, pointing to “left-wing” social media posts, support for reparations for slavery and tweets advocating for Democratic politicians. 

“The Fed is already suffering from a credibility problem because of its involvement in politics and departure from its statutorily proscribed role,” Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, the panel’s top Republican, said in a statement released before Thursday’s hearing.

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