White House Officials Back Economists Spriggs, Cook for Fed

Economists Lisa Cook and William Spriggs have the backing of several key White House officials and allies as possible choices for President Joe Biden to fill a vacancy on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, according to people familiar with the matter.

The White House has not contacted either for formal vetting or interviews, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

Cook, who teaches at Michigan State University, is on the steering committee of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a think tank co-founded by White House adviser Heather Boushey. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was previously on the steering committee.

Spriggs is chief economist of the AFL-CIO and teaches at Howard University. He served as an assistant secretary in the Obama administration’s Labor Department.

White House Officials Back Economists Spriggs, Cook for Fed

Biden has not weighed in on choices for filling the one current vacancy on the Fed board and no announcement is imminent, according to people familiar with the matter.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment, and Cook did not respond to inquiries. Spriggs said he has not been contacted by the White House.

Biden’s economic agenda includes efforts to bridge the inequality gap in the U.S., with an eye on diversity in key federal appointments. If nominated and confirmed, Cook would be the Fed board’s first-ever Black woman member, and Spriggs would be the fourth Black man to serve in the central bank’s century-plus history.

Biden may have the opportunity to fill four vacancies at the Fed over the coming year, depending on whether he opts to keep former President Donald Trump’s appointees in place. Jerome Powell’s term as chair comes due early next year, as does the board membership of Vice Chair Richard Clarida. Governor Randy Quarles’s term as vice chair for financial supervision expires later this year.

One governor post is vacant after Trump’s attempt to place controversial economic adviser Judy Shelton on the Fed board failed in the U.S. Senate.

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