Stevenson calls for Senate Republicans to confirm Biden’s Federal Reserve nominees

March 16, 2022

Betsey Stevenson, professor of public policy and economics, recently penned an op-ed in The Hill calling for Senate Republicans to confirm President Biden’s Federal Reserve nominees.

“With inflation levels at a 40-year high and the conflict in Ukraine threatening even more economic turmoil, we need an all-hands-on-deck approach to stabilize prices and provide relief to the American people,” she wrote. “Yet, the institution with the most power to address these pressing issues — the Federal Reserve — has been left without its core leadership.”

Stevenson draws upon her experience as a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and chief economist of the Department of Labor during the Great Recession to argue that a fully-staffed Federal Reserve is necessary to slow inflation. The U.S. is at an inflection moment, where rising inflation has to be tackled without affecting economic recovery.

“Good monetary policy decisions rely on the input of many informed and dedicated people who bring their unique perspectives to the table when determining the best course of action,” Stevenson said. “The need for everyone’s input is more important than ever as we face these unprecedented challenges. Yet, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, responsible for leading these efforts, currently only has four of its seven seats confirmed.”

She then explains how the nominees — Jerome Powell, Lael Brainard, Lisa Cook, and Philip Jefferson — all have the skills and judgment necessary to tackle inflation and stabilize the economy.

“Together these nominees have decades of proven real-world experience and academic excellence, significant contributions to economic growth and hard-earned resiliency, demonstrating they understand how to make the economy work for working Americans — especially during challenging moments like these,” Stevenson writes.

Stevenson singles out Senate Republicans on the Banking Committee, who she says are “not having rigorous debate on the merits of the candidates, or providing valuable oversight to the process. They are playing politics, refusing to show up to work and freezing the confirmation process in its tracks, throwing uncertainty into the markets, and putting the financial wellbeing of hardworking American families at risk.”

She explains the risks of “playing politics” with the Federal Reserve – higher inflation. 

“The goals are clear: steer the economy toward maximum employment and stable prices. The problem is that the Federal Reserve has been left without the team of people who lead these discussions and vote on the decision,” Stevenson concludes. “If we are going to effectively reduce inflation while preventing a recession, we must move forward with a vote on Biden’s extremely qualified slate of Federal Reserve nominees without delay.”

Read the entirety of Stevenson’s op-ed, “Best way to tackle inflation: Confirm Biden's Fed nominations,” in The Hill.