On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; she becomes the first Black woman to be appointed to the position, CNN reports.
The final vote was 51-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
Although she has a doctorate in economics and is currently a professor at Michigan State University, the GOP argued that Cook was not qualified for the board.
“Professor Cook has no proven expertise in monetary economics at all, much less fighting inflation,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. “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.”
Senate Democrats came to the defense of Cook and her accomplished background.
“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,” stated Sen. Sherrod Brown, Chair of the Banking Committee. “She will bring a critical voice to the Fed—one that has been missing for far too long.”
A distinguished academic, Cook was the first Marshall Scholar from Spelman College and received a second B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University. She earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in Macroeconomics and International Economics. Previously, she was on the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Deputy Director for Africa Research at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, and a National Fellow at Stanford University.
Cook also served as a staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2011 to 2012 and was an adviser to President Joe Biden's transition team on the Fed and bank regulatory policy.