Kugler confirmed as first Hispanic American on US Fed board

Adriana Kugler is the first Hispanic American confirmed to the Fed's governing body in its 110-year history (Drew Angerer)
Adriana Kugler is the first Hispanic American confirmed to the Fed's governing body in its 110-year history (Drew Angerer)

The US Senate confirmed Adriana Kugler on Thursday to a management position at the Federal Reserve, making her the first Hispanic-American to serve on the seven-person governing body in its 110-year history.

President Joe Biden tapped Kugler, a former World Bank executive director, to fill the vacant position on the Fed's board of governors following former vice chair Lael Brainard's departure in February to head the National Economic Council.

Kugler's appointment fills out the Fed's board, following the confirmations on Wednesday of Philip Jefferson to the vacant number two spot at the US central bank, and Lisa Cook to serve a full 14-year term as governor.

"I applaud the Senate for confirming my superbly qualified nominees to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on a bipartisan basis," Biden said in a statement.

"With the confirmation of these outstanding economists to the Federal Reserve, the American people can be confident that the Fed's important mission remains in good hands, and it will continue working for them, not any partisan agenda," he added.

As a Fed board member, Kugler will have a permanent vote during meetings of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), and in other management activities at the US central bank.

As a result, analysts and traders will closely parse future comments made by Kugler for signs of how she is likely to vote at the meetings, which chart the course of US monetary policy.

"Dr. Kugler's confirmation would finally give the more than 62 million Latinos who call this country home a seat at the table where the most consequential decisions on monetary policy are made," Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said in a statement ahead of the vote.

The FOMC has voted to raise interest rates 11 times over the last 18 months, lifting its key lending rate to its highest level in more than 20 years to tackle rampant inflation.

Although inflation remains above the Fed's long-run target of two percent, analysts and traders broadly expect the FOMC to hold rates steady at its next meeting on September 19-20 to give policymakers more time to assess the health of the world's largest economy.

"We congratulate Dr. Philip Jefferson on his confirmation as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Dr. Lisa Cook on her confirmation for a full term and Dr. Adriana Kugler on her confirmation to join the board," American Bankers Association President Rob Nichols said in a statement.

"Each of these appointments is historic in its own right, and all three bring diverse perspectives to the Fed's critically important work," he added.