Show an ad over header. AMP

Scoop: Biden considering Lisa Cook for open Fed seat

President Biden is considering nominating Lisa Cook, an economist at Michigan State University, to fill an open seat on the Federal Reserve Board, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: The appointment would be historic, since Cook would be the first Black woman to join the Fed. It also would reveal the new president's preferences for monetary policy and how he may reconstitute the Fed, including the chairmanship.


  • Chairman Jerome Powell’s term is up in February 2022, but presidents typically announce a replacement, or whether to renominate the chair, the summer before the expiration. That would be this summer — plenty of time for the financial markets to adjust to the change.
  • The White House declined comment and Cook did not respond to a request for comment.

The big picture: Under Powell, the Fed has assumed an extraordinary role in trying to contain the economic fallout from the coronavirus. It reduced the benchmark lending rate to zero and pumped trillions of dollars into the economy through asset purchases.

  • Powell on Wednesday continued to warn about the challenges facing the economy and suggested the 6.3% unemployment rate “dramatically understated” the actual conditions in the labor market.
  • Biden's economic advisers have insisted they're not concerned his $1.9 trillion stimulus package will lead to inflation, as Larry Summers, a former Democratic Treasury secretary, warned in an op-ed this week.

Details: Cook’s academic writing suggests she is a dove, meaning she’s less concerned about inflation and more focused on improving labor market conditions.

  • She's also written about the broader effects of racial bias and how “discrimination inflicts a staggering cost on the entire economy.”
  • Cook served as a senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama and was a member of Biden’s transition team.

Between the lines: President Trump repeatedly attacked the Fed’s independence, demanding it lower interest rates and insisting he had the authority to dismiss Powell, a controversial proposition that he ultimately never tested.

  • Last week, Biden withdrew the name of Judy Shelton, Trump’s controversial Fed pick, whose nomination foundered in the Senate over her unorthodox views.

What we are watching: In addition to setting interest rates, the Fed also regulates financial institutions. That role expanded with the government's response to the financial crisis of 2008-09.

  • Biden will have an opportunity to nominate a vice chair for supervision when the term of the post's current occupant, Randal Quarles, expires in October.
  • He also will be able to replace Richard Clarida, the other vice chair, when his term ends in January 2022.
  • Lael Brainard, a current Fed governor who Biden considered for Treasury secretary, could be elevated to either position.
  • Cook also could be elevated to one of them, which would require a separate Senate confirmation vote.

Trump received COVID vaccine at White House in January

Former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump were both vaccinated at the White House in January, a Trump adviser tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump declared at CPAC on Sunday that "everybody" should get the coronavirus vaccine — the first time he's encouraged his supporters, who have been more skeptical of getting vaccinated, to do so.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden administration seeks to allow separated migrant families to reunite in the U.S.

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Monday that the Biden administration will explore "lawful pathways" to allow migrant families separated under the Trump administration to reunite in the U.S.

Why it matters: Biden has pledged to reunite the hundreds of families still separated as a result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, and signed an executive order last month creating a family separation task force chaired by Mayorkas.

Keep reading... Show less

CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions, citing stalled progress

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warned states on Monday that "now is not the time" to lift public health restrictions, as the recent dramatic declines in coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling."

Why it matters: While the average of 70,000 new infections and 2,000 daily deaths is nowhere near the extremely high levels recorded at the start of 2021, the figures are still a poor baseline to "stop a potential fourth surge" — especially with the threat posed by more contagious new variants, Walensky warned.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduces "ultra-millionaire" wealth tax bill

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday introduced a bill in the Senate that would impose a new tax on the assets of America's wealthiest individuals.

Why it matters: The plan, which Warren introduced along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) is similar to a proposal that was the centerpiece of Warren's campaign for the presidency in 2020.

Keep reading... Show less

Private equity firms dodge cost-cutting and aim for revenue growth

Private equity is mimicking venture capital, banking on revenue growth instead of cost-cutting.

Why it matters: PE firms may struggle to maintain historical returns, particularly if the bull market slows its rampage and they're stuck with overpriced and overleveraged portfolios.

Keep reading... Show less

Former French President Sarkozy sentenced to jail for corruption

A court in Paris on Monday sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to one year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence, after he was found guilty of trying to bribe a magistrate, the AP reports.

Driving the news: Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, is the first president in France’s modern history to have gone on trial for corruption, per AP. He was charged with corruption and influence-peddling.

Keep reading... Show less

Canceled NFL Scouting Combine puts 40-yard dashes on the backburner

Top NFL prospects would normally be gathering in Indianapolis this week for the annual Scouting Combine. But due to the pandemic, this year's event has been canceled.

What they're saying: No combine means no 40-yard dash times making headlines. Former scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks that could be a glimpse of the future:

Keep reading... Show less

J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goal of 100 million doses by June

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said Monday that he is "absolutely" confident that the company will be able to meet its distribution goals, which include 100 million doses by June and up to a billion by the end of 2021.

Driving the news: J&J is already in the process of shipping 3.9 million doses this week, just days after the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the one-shot vaccine. Gorsky said he expects vaccines to be administered to Americans "literally within the next 24 to 48 hours."

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories