September 05, 2023

Brown Calls on Colleagues to Support Historic Federal Reserve Nominees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, took to the Senate floor to speak in support of the nominations of The Honorable Philip Nathan Jefferson, of North Carolina, to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, The Honorable Lisa DeNell Cook, of Michigan, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and The Honorable Adriana Debora Kugler, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. 

Sen. Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery follow:

Madame/Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to join me in confirming Phillip Jefferson as Vice Chair, Lisa Cook and Adriana Kugler to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The Senate will be voting on Dr. Cook and Dr. Kugler’s nominations in the next few days. 

These three nominees are talented economists and dedicated public servants, and are also all historic nominees who will bring diverse perspectives to the Fed.

If confirmed, our Board of Governors will better reflect the country, and the people who make it work. Our economy works better when we have people from diverse backgrounds, people who bring new ideas and different perspectives – not just the same old Wall Street, corporate consensus. 

Dr. Phillip Jefferson is a respected economist whose nomination for Vice Chair came out of the Banking and Housing Committee with unanimous support. When he was first confirmed to the Board of Governors last year, he had widely bipartisan and near unanimous support across the Senate. 

Dr. Jefferson brings to the Fed outstanding academic credentials and years of strong leadership experience. He is a renowned scholar and a leading expert on monetary policy and the economics of poverty.  Dr. Jefferson possesses a strong understanding of how higher prices hurt the most economically insecure Americans and that access to good-paying jobs is the best antidote to poverty. 

If confirmed, Dr. Jefferson will be the second Black man to serve as Vice Chair on the Board of Governors.

Dr. Lisa Cook, is an well-qualified economist who has served with distinction since filling a vacancy on the Board of Governors last year. She brings a breadth of research and international experience on monetary policy, banking, and financial crises. Dr. Cook’s expertise in international economics has immense value as we continue in our economic recovery amidst global inflation.

Prior to joining the Fed, Dr. Cook taught economics and international relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Business School, and Michigan State University.  During the Obama Administration, Dr. Cook served on the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) as a senior economist and at the Treasury Department under the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Growing up in the South and working in the industrial Midwest, Dr. Cook understands the vital role that workers and local communities play in building a strong economy. I have faith in Dr. Cook’s judgement to set monetary policy that grows our economy from the middle out and the bottom up. 

And Dr. Cook’s time on the Board has demonstrated without a doubt that she is far from the extremist she was portrayed to be last year. 

Last year her character was attacked, and her credentials were questioned. It was an unfair, underhanded attack on an eminently qualified woman of color.

Dr. Cook has overwhelmingly proved her naysayers wrong, bringing a level-headedness and data-driven focus to monetary policymaking. 

In fact, I would like to take a moment to thank Senator Rounds voted in support of her confirmation when we advanced her nomination through the committee earlier this summer. 

Dr. Cook would be the first black woman confirmed to a full 14-year term on the Fed Board—the first in over 100 years. 

Dr. Adriana Kugler, is one of the nation’s top labor economists, with an impressive record of both government and academic service. Dr. Kugler is unquestionably qualified and possesses bipartisan support from top economists and civil rights organizations. 

Currently, Dr. Kugler serves as the Executive Director of the World Bank. In this position, for which she was confirmed via a unanimous vote in the U.S. Senate, Dr. Kugler has played a critical role in the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to serving at the World Bank, Dr. Kugler served as an economist at the Department of Labor and taught economics and public policy at Georgetown University.

Being a first generation American and the daughter of Colombian immigrants, Dr. Adriana Kugler has firsthand knowledge of runaway prices and limited employment opportunities.

During her nomination hearing testimony, Dr. Kugler shared how witnessing adversity and poverty in Colombia deepened her understanding of the need for fighting inflation and promoting full employment. 

If confirmed, Dr. Kugler will be the first Hispanic American to serve on the Board of Governors in the 110-year history of the agency. 

The confirmation of Dr. Kugler would be a critical step forward in bringing more diverse perspectives to our nation’s central bank.

We cannot build on our economic recovery without a fully staffed Board of Governors, whose experiences and professional backgrounds reflect the vibrant diversity of our country, and all the workers who power our economy.

I strongly urge my colleagues to join me in supporting Dr. Jefferson, Dr. Cook, and Dr. Kugler’s nominations – all of which have bipartisan support, so that we can have all seven seats on the Board of Governors filled with qualified experts helping in our economic recovery. 

I yield the floor.