White House officials are holding talks with a critical Democratic ally in the Senate to consider Chicago Fed Chairman Austan Goolsbee for the post, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown said on Wednesday he spoke to White House officials about the vacuum created by President Joe Biden’s decision to appoint Vice President Lael Brainard as top economic adviser.
Ohio’s Democratic Senator did not say whether any names were discussed, but noted that the Fed would like to see a candidate to focus on employment and wages. Brown told Bloomberg News that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell places more emphasis on one of these two issues.
“I want someone who will be aggressive and do well inside the Fed for wages and dual mandate,” he added.
Goolsbee, 53, was previously the economic adviser to President Barack Obama and is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago School of Business.
Goolsbee has not spoken publicly about monetary policy since taking office at the Chicago Fed, but Wall Street economists describe him as a dove leaning towards greater support for full employment, just like Brainard. Policymakers supported the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision to raise interest rates by a quarter point earlier this month as they continue to grapple with very high inflation.
New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, a senior Democrat on the Banking Committee, said he had not heard Goolsbee being considered, but preferred a Latino candidate and would suggest some names to the White House.
Menendez said of Goolsbee, “He’s always going to be the assistant fielder, coming for everything. I want to see a Latina at the Fed. We’ve had no one in its 109-year history and we’re going to send some names to the White House for consideration.”
Brown said that as the Banking Committee considers the nomination of Brainard’s successor, it is likely to consider the re-nomination of Lisa D. Cook, who was approved in May to serve the Fed for an unexpired term that expires next January.
“We’ve done this before, we’ve done two at once,” Brown said. “And I expect it to be Cook for a period of 14 years.”
Cook’s approval came after fierce resistance from Senate Republicans. The Senate Banking Committee, which was split evenly between the two political parties last year, was stuck in its approval. After Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer handed over the vote to the entire Senate, it was the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris that was approved by a vote of 51-50, breaking the tie.