Skip to Content

Lawmakers Say Janet Yellen Needs to Make the Fed More Diverse

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenSen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.Bill Clark CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

U.S. lawmakers including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Thursday sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen urging more diversity at the U.S. central bank.

Ten of the Fed’s 12 regional bank presidents are men; 11 of them are white, the letter noted.

“Given the critical linkage between monetary policy and the experiences of hardworking Americans, the importance of ensuring that such positions are filled by persons that reflect and represent the interests of our diverse country cannot be understated,” said the letter, signed by 116 members of Congress and 11 Senators.

The Fed has come under fire in recent months from both Republicans and Democrats, including candidates for the 2016 presidential campaign, for a range of perceived failings, from its process to deciding monetary policy to its governance. Those calls have emboldened lawmakers who seek to limit the Fed’s powers and are prompting some current and former Fed officials to call for steps to placate the bank’s harshest critics.

A Federal Reserve Board spokesman said the U.S. central bank was committed to diversity and was already taking steps to bring more women and minorities into its leadership ranks.

Minorities now make up 24 percent of regional Fed bank boards, up from 16 percent in 2010; 46 percent of all directors are either non-white or a woman, the spokesman said, adding, “we are striving to continue that progress.”