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Biden names three key Fed nominees amid battle with inflation

President Biden announced Friday a slate of key Federal Reserve nominees as the central bank battles inflation with a fragile economy and financial system hanging in the balance.

Biden will nominate Federal Reserve Governor Philip Jefferson to serve as vice chairman of the Fed board, and he’s tapping economist and World Bank U.S. executive director Adriana Kugler to serve as a Fed governor.

Biden also announced he would nominate Fed Governor Lisa Cook to a full 14-year term on the Fed board. Cook has been serving out a term that lasts until January 2024 since joining the Fed board last year.

“These nominees understand that this job is not a partisan one, but one that plays a critical role in pursuing maximum employment, maintaining price stability, and supervising many of our nation’s financial institutions,” Biden said in a statement.

If confirmed, Jefferson would serve as the central bank’s No. 2 official and succeed National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard, who joined the White House in February. 

Kugler would replace Brainard on the Fed Board of Governors, which includes up to seven officials — three of which serve as chair, vice chair and vice chair of supervision. 

Jefferson has served as a member of the Fed board since May 2022 and previously served as an economics professor and Fed economist. 

In addition to her work at the World Bank, Kugler is on leave from Georgetown University and served as chief economist at the Labor Department during the Obama administration. 

Jefferson would be the Fed’s second Black vice chairman, and Kugler would be the first Hispanic member of the Fed board if confirmed. 

Biden’s nominations come as the Fed faces a critical moment in its fight against inflation and the rising likelihood of a recession.

Inflation appears to be falling steadily after more than a year of aggressive Fed rate hikes, which began in March 2022. 

Prices rose 4.9 percent over the past 12 months, according to the Labor Department’s consumer price index (CPI), which marked the lowest annual inflation rate in more than two years

Price growth has fallen sharply after peaking at an annual rate of 9.1 percent in June 2022, but it remains well above the Fed’s target of 2 percent annual growth.

The Fed’s rapid rate hikes have also weighed heavily on the U.S. economy, which appears to be on track to stall in the middle of the year. While the job market has held sturdy, the Fed expects more than a million job losses by the end of the year, according to projections from March.

Source: The Hill

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