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Democrats Push for More Diversity in Fed Leadership

Phil Hall
May 12, 2016
A coalition of industry trade organizations is calling on the U.S. Senate to speed the confirmation of Seth Appleton's as the next Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The first woman to chair the Federal Reserve is being criticized by Democratic legislators demanding more diversity in the central bank’s top policymaking positions.

According to report from, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen received a letter from 116 House Democrats and 11 senators that complained about the surplus of white men in leadership roles. The lawmakers pointed out that the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is entirely White and called for an emphasis on ethnicity and economic and professional backgrounds as part of the factors in choosing future executive officers.

“The importance of ensuring that such positions are filled by persons that reflect and represent the interests of our diverse country cannot be overstated,” the letter stated. “When the voices of women, African-Americans, Latinos, Asian Pacific Americans, and representatives of consumers and labor are excluded from key discussions, their interests are too often neglected.”

The letter was coordinated by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI). Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, was among those signing the letter, while Hillary Clinton chimed in her support after the letter’s contents were made public.

For its part, the Fed insisted that it was committed to diversity in hiring.

"We have focused considerable attention in recent years on recruiting directors with diverse backgrounds and experiences," said a Fed spokesperson. "By law, we consider the interests of agriculture, commerce, industry, services, labor, and consumers. We also are aiming to increase ethnic and gender diversity."

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