House, Senate Dems introduce bill to encourage diversity among Fed presidents

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WASHINGTON — Democrats in the House and Senate are introducing legislation that would require the consideration of diverse candidates when there are vacancies among the Federal Reserve regional bank presidents.

Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have introduced identical “Ensuring Diverse Leadership” bills in both chambers, which would mandate that at least one gender diverse candidate and one racially or ethnically diverse candidate be interviewed when there is a vacancy at the head of one of the Fed’s regional banks.

“It is hard to believe that in 2018, in the Federal Reserve’s 105-year history, only one African-American has ever served as a Reserve Bank president and seven women have held the position,” Beatty said in a press release.

“Bringing greater diversity to the Federal Reserve will ensure that more perspectives are heard as major decisions are being made about our nation’s economic future and will produce better outcomes for the American people,” Harris said.

The bill comes as Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee are planning to form a subcommittee on diversity and financial inclusion in the new Congress. Beatty has already put her name in the hat to chair that subcommittee, but no official announcements have been made.

The legislation was originally introduced in 2018 and had the support of new House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic is the first and only African-American to serve in that capacity. Currently, eight of the Fed’s 12 regional banks have never had a female president.

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Diversity and equality Racial Bias Gender discrimination Financial inclusion Maxine Waters House Financial Services Committee Women in Banking