Philip N. Jefferson, a college administrator and academic economist, was confirmed to the Federal Reserve board on Wednesday.
Senators approved him for the job in an overwhelming two-part vote of 91-7. He is the third of President Biden’s nominees to secure a seat on the Fed’s seven-member board: Lisa D. Cook was confirmed as governor on Tuesday and Lael Brainard was confirmed as vice chair last month.
Jefferson, most recently vice president for academic affairs at Davidson College, was born in Washington, DC, and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia. He was an economist on the Fed board and wrote about poverty and the effect of monetary policy on the labor market, among other topics.
The White House has also nominated Jerome H. Powell as Fed chairman, although Powell is still awaiting a final approval vote. The senators said the vote was expected as early as Thursday.
The administration’s candidate for the Fed’s last open position — the vice chairman for oversight — has yet to hold a hearing and vote in the committee. Mr Biden’s initial candidate for the position, Sarah Bloom Raskin, withdrew after it became clear she would not make it to the Senate. Michael S. Barr was recently offered the job.
If those choices are confirmed, Mr. Biden will have nominated or reappointed five of the Fed’s seven governors. The Fed is independent of politics, so those appointments are the most important way the White House can shape the future of monetary policy, which is used to keep inflation stable and employment high.
The governors of the Fed’s board of directors in Washington constantly vote on monetary policy and oversee the country’s largest banks. They set interest rates to steer the economy, along with 12 presidents of regional reserve banks, five of whom vote on monetary policy at any time.
Mr. Jefferson and Ms. Cook are likely to support the Fed’s current project of curbing rapid inflation. Consumer prices rose 8.3 percent in the year to April, data released Wednesday showed, an uncomfortably rapid rate of increase. Fed officials are raising interest rates at the fastest pace in decades as they try to ease price pressures and bring the situation under control.
“The spike in inflation we are seeing today threatens to raise expectations of future inflation,” said Mr. Jefferson during his confirmation hearing. “The Federal Reserve must remain vigilant about this risk and ensure that inflation falls to levels consistent with its targets.”