Biden taps Philip Jefferson to be Fed’s vice chair, Kugler as first Hispanic on Fed board

May 12, 2023, 8:02 AM

File - Philip Jefferson speaks during the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee confi...

File - Philip Jefferson speaks during the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, in Washington. President Joe Biden nominated Jefferson, a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, to serve as vice chair of the board, the White House announced Friday, May 12, 2023. (Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has nominated Philip Jefferson, a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, to serve as vice chair of the board, the White House announced Friday.

Biden has also chosen Adriana Kugler, a Georgetown University economist, to join the Fed’s board. If confirmed by the Senate, she would become the first Hispanic American on the Fed’s interest-rate-setting committee.

The two nominations arrive as the Fed is grappling with an increasingly fraught economy marked by rising interest rates, interest rate 10 times, to the highest level in 16 years, to combat high inflation. After a policy meeting last week, Chair Jerome Powell signaled that the Fed may now pause its rate increases.

In the coming months, the Fed will face tough decisions about whether to keep rates unchanged for the rest of this year or resume raising them. The policymakers might even consider cutting rates should a recession occur later this year, as many economists expect.

Jefferson, 61, who first joined the Fed’s board barely a year ago, would become the second Black man to serve as the Fed’s No. 2 official if confirmed by the Senate. He would replace Lael Brainard, who left in February to become Biden’s top economic adviser. As vice chair, Jefferson would join an inner circle of policymakers that includes Powell and the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, John Williams.

Kugler, 53, who has a background in international and labor economics, is on leave from Georgetown to serve as the United States’ representative on the board of the World Bank. During the Obama administration, she was the Labor Department’s chief economist, from September 2011 to January 2013.

Biden also announced that he plans to re-nominate Lisa Cook to a full 14-year term on the Fed’s board. Cook, 58, who was narrowly confirmed by the Senate, joined the board last May to fill an unexpired term that will end on Jan. 31, 2024.

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Biden taps Philip Jefferson to be Fed’s vice chair, Kugler as first Hispanic on Fed board