FIRST ON FOX: Treasury officials in more than a dozen states have endorsed all three of President Biden's nominees to the Federal Reserve, touting their "unparalleled expertise" and the "diversity" they would bring to the system.
Comptrollers and treasurers from New York, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut, California, Maryland and Missouri penned a letter to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, obtained exclusively by FOX Business, urging the Senate to "expeditiously confirm all three nominees."
President Biden, earlier this month, nominated Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Fed and Treasury official, to serve as Fed vice chair for supervision – the top regulatory position; Lisa Cook, who would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed’s board, and Phillip Jefferson, an economist, dean of faculty at Davidson College in North Carolina and a former Fed researcher.
The letter counters a group of mostly Republican states that spoke out against Raskin, calling her views "radical."
"We are writing today to express our support for the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve as Vice Chair of Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system as well as the nominations of Dr. Lisa Cook and Dr. Philip Jefferson to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System," they wrote.
"As stewards of our city and state’s budgets, we acknowledge and appreciate the vital importance of strong leadership at the Federal Reserve," the wrote, saying that the leadership "is more important than ever, as our country struggles to recover from the dual economic and public health crises brought on by the pandemic, exacerbating existing social and economic inequalities."
The officials touted the Biden administration for "bringing relief" to families across the country, but said the U.S. "must carefully navigate our way through the complicated economic impacts of the pandemic that continue to put a strain on many families’ household budgets."
"We believe that President Biden’s nominees are more than ready for this task and would welcome the opportunity to work with them in this effort," they wrote.
The officials also warned of the "looming threats" of climate change, cybersecurity and "other potentially risky phenomena," saying the issues "require diligence and forward-thinking leadership."
"We endorse President Biden’s nominees not only for their unparalleled expertise and impressive experience, but also for the diversity they would bring to the Federal Reserve," they wrote, adding that it is "critical" that those directing the country’s financial infrastructure "represent and reflect the diversity of the American experience."
"Improved diversity at the Federal Reserve will ensure stronger and more equitable policies that will in turn, improve the overall health of our economy," they wrote.
FOX Business also obtained a letter from the National Bankers Association endorsing Cook to serve as the first Black woman, and Jefferson, to serve as the fourth Black man on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
"If confirmed, the NBA looks forward to working with the entire Board on efforts to enhance the agency’s work to preserve and promote minority depository institutions," president and CEO of the National Bankers Association Nicole Elam wrote.
"We offer our enthusiastic support of Dr. Cook and Dr. Jefferson’s nominations and urge the Senate to move swiftly to confirm these nominations," Elam wrote.
While the nominees have received support and endorsements from officials and organizations across the country, some have raised concerns.
In a Monday letter addressed to the White House, 24 state treasurers, auditors and financial officers urged Biden to withdraw his nomination of Raskin as the Fed's vice chair of supervision, warning that her past statements indicate she is "willing to place the growth and stability of the U.S. economy at risk to achieve her preferred social outcomes."
The officials, mostly Republican, warned of Raskin’s views on issues like climate change and the private banking sector, describing them as "radical."
A major point of contention for the state financial officers is Raskin's stance on climate change and her view that it poses a systemic risk to the U.S. financial system. Raskin has previously argued that all financial institutions should re-evaluate their relationships with energy companies and has advocated for a push toward sustainable investments that do not depend on carbon and fossil fuels. If banks and other financial institutions do not take these steps to distance themselves from fossil-fuel companies, Raskin has said the Fed should penalize them.
Signatories included the financial officers from Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, Utah, Louisiana, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.
And some have pointed out Cook’s support for reparations – the proposed policy of financial compensation for Black Americans as a form of atonement for slavery and discrimination.
Biden said during the 2020 presidential campaign that he supports the study of reparations. White House press secretary Jen Psaki doubled down on that last year when asked about H.R. 40, a House bill that would create a commission to study reparations. Cook said last March she supports that bill, too.
Fox News' Tyler Olson, Megan Henney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.