The Senate has confirmed Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin as deputy secretary at the Treasury Department, making her the highest-ranking woman in the agency’s history.
Raskin cleared the Senate on a voice vote nearly eight months after she was nominated for the position. Raskin joined the Fed in 2010 and was known for her focus on consumer protection. In her speeches, she has called attention to problems in the mortgage and foreclosure industries, the consequences of growing wealth and income inequality and the plight of low- and middle-income consumers. At a conference sponsored by the Roosevelt Institute last summer, Raskin recounted skipping out on a day at her office inside the stately Eccles Building on Constitution Avenue to spend a day at a job fair.
“This was kind of eye-opening for me,” she said.
The job fair included restaurants, pool companies, the military and community banks, among others. She noticed many were hiring for part-time positions, and many of the full-time jobs were temporary or did not include benefits. Raskin said the experience was a real-world illustration of the academic questions she was raising at the Fed.
“What are the jobs that have returned in the recovery? How do they differ from the jobs that were lost? What are the implications of these differences for future growth? Is there some kind of backward slide?” she said in her speech.
Before joining the Fed, Raskin was the chief financial regulator for the state of Maryland. Her husband, Jamie Raskin (D), serves in the Maryland Senate. In a statement, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew applauded Sarah Raskin’s confirmation.
“I look forward to working with her to safeguard our financial system, drive growth, create jobs, and expand opportunity for all Americans,” Lew said.
Raskin has abstained from voting at the Fed’s policy-setting meetings since she was tapped for the post at Treasury. Her confirmation creates another vacant seat on the seven-member board of governors. The White House has yet to name a replacement.
The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday will hear testimony from three nominees for other open seats: former Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer, former Treasury official Lael Brainard and Fed board member Jay Powell, whose term is up for renewal.