WASHINGTON— A group of Democratic senators and House members complained Thursday that the Federal Reserve has failed to meet its obligation to build a diverse leadership that includes enough women and minorities, and it wants Chair Janet Yellen to remedy the issue.
The lawmakers said a more inclusive leadership that properly reflects gender, race, ethnicity, occupation and economic background is needed to ensure fairness in Fed policy.
The Democratic lawmakers — 11 senators and 116 in the House — expressed their concerns in a letter to Yellen. The Fed’s leadership “remains overwhelmingly and disproportionately white and male,” they wrote.
In its search for directors who oversee the Fed’s 12 regional banks for terms next year, the Fed’s board of governors should cast a wider net for African American, Latino and female candidates, as well as qualified people from labor, consumer and community organizations, the lawmakers told Yellen.
A Fed spokesman, David Skidmore, responded that the central bank is “committed to fostering diversity — by race, ethnicity, gender and professional background — within its leadership ranks.”
“We have focused considerable attention in recent years on recruiting directors with diverse backgrounds and experiences,” Skidmore said. “By law, we consider the interests of agriculture, commerce, industry, services, labor and consumers. We also are aiming to increase ethnic and gender diversity.”
The senators signing the letter include Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is challenging front-runner Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Warren and Sanders are the most outspoken Democratic critics on economic and financial issues.