Biden Pressed to Bring Diversity to the Fed; Brian Nelson Confirmed to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence & More: Dec. 9 Joint Center Roundup

Biden Administration

Federal Reserve Building in Washington DC

President pressed to honor pledge to bring diversity to the Federal Reserve: President  Biden’s pledge to bring diversity to the currently all-white Federal Reserve will be tested as he fills three open seats, including bank overseer and two governors, in the weeks and months to come, The Washington Post reports. Black candidates under consideration include Economic Policy Institute Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy Director Valerie Wilson, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs, and Michigan State University Professor of Economics and International Relations Lisa Cook, Bloomberg reports. In November, the Joint Center joined with the Black Economic Alliance to issue a letter to the Biden Administration—signed by a coalition of civil rights groups, professional associations, and community organizations—urging the appointment of multiple Black candidates to Federal Reserve leadership positions.

President Biden announces COVID-19 winter battle plan: With the ongoing impact of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus now compounded by the threat of the new Omicron variant, President Biden has announced a new plan of action against the pandemic as the nation heads into the winter, according to a statement from the White House. Biden’s plan calls for vaccine booster shots for all adults, vaccinations of children, expanded free at-home testing, and more stringent public health protocols for international travel, among other measures.

Vice President Harris met with all Black, woman coalition focused on civil rights issues: Vice President Harris met Monday with Black Women Leaders and Allies, a coalition of groups focused on civil rights issues to discuss progress on the Build Back Better Act, the Administration’s efforts to amplify and implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, and voting rights, according to a statement from the White House. This group of leaders previously met with Vice President Harris in July to discuss protecting the fundamental right to vote. According to Politico, there was a “personal appeal”  and a “sense of shared protectiveness over the accomplishments of Harris as the first woman of color to serve in the executive office.”

Vice President Harris marks White House Maternal Health Day of Action: Vice President Harris announced a call to action to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, marking Dec. 7 as the first-ever “White House Maternal Health Day of Action.” A White House fact sheet announced commitments by the Biden-Harris Administration to support safe pregnancies and childbirth, and reduce complications and mortality in the year following birth, noting that Black women are more than three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as white women. White House commitments include $3 billion in funding for maternal health as part of the Build Back Better Act.

Biden Justice Department sues Texas over redistricting: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the U.S. Justice Department has sued to block Texas’s updated congressional and state House maps, Politico reports. The suit alleges the districts that were redrawn in the wake of the 2020 census “fails to recognize the State’s growing minority electorate” and are in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Analysis reveals key factor for equity in federal infrastructure spending: In the wake of the passage of President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, an analysis of past infrastructure spending reveals that communities where businesses and civic groups aren’t already working with local governments are likely to lose out in their efforts to secure federal dollars, The Washington Post reports. Low-income communities that benefit from federal spending have higher numbers of well-organized and funded nonprofits advocating for equity. Absent that advantage, such communities (including those with low- and moderate-income Black residents) are more likely to be left out and experience increased economic disenfranchisement.

Descendants of Marcus Garvey press for presidential pardon: The descendants of Marcus Garvey, who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1914, are pressing the Biden Administration to grant a posthumous pardon for the Black revolutionary leader, The Washington Post reports. Garvey’s family says that his 1923 conviction for mail fraud was the result of being targeted and persecuted by the U.S. government for his pursuit of racial justice for Black people in the African diaspora.

 The Hill

Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson confirmed to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence: Brian Nelson was confirmed to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Department of Treasury after being nominated in May by President Biden. The Joint Center supported Nelson’s nomination.

Nelson previously told the Wall Street Journal that he would focus on participating in the continuing review of sanctions programs led by Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo. Nelson’s other priorities will include working with the leaders of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to implement new anti-money-laundering rules. Nelson was previously the chief legal officer of LA28, the organizing committee for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. He has served in senior roles in the California Department of Justice and in the National Security Division at the Department of Justice.

Build Back Better child-care funding could backfire on Black families: President Biden’s Build Back Better bill, passed by the House last month, could include policy “blind spots” that might imperil affordable childcare for working Black parents in lower-income communities, The Washington Post reports. As currently written, states will have discretion over how the $380 billion provision for childcare in the bill will be spent, which analysis reveals could undercut local child-care providers who rely on preschool classrooms to offset the greater costs of toddler and infant care.

Movement Building

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) President and Director Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill issued a statement commending the U.S. Justice Department’s (DOJ) suit against the State of Texas alleging that newly congressional and state legislative districts engaged in unlawful discrimination. Ifill encourages the DOJ to “continue to take a broad and expansive view of redistricting in state and local jurisdictions throughout the country.”

The LDF also issued a statement on misleading references to Brown v. Board of Education made by Supreme Court Justices during oral arguments for the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. LDF President and Director Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill rejected efforts to equate the current case justifying the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, cases which established the constitutionality of abortion rights, with Brown overturning Plessy v. Ferguson to put an end to state-sanctioned racial segregation.

Color Of Change issued a statement from its president, Rashad Robinson, calling for Section 230 reform and antitrust action against Facebook, Amazon, Google, and other Big Tech companies. The statement was issued during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, “Holding Big Tech Accountable: Targeted Reforms to Tech’s Legal Immunity.”

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law released a statement urging the U.S. Senate to delay its recess to prioritize passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act., in a letter organized with a coalition of more than 200 groups.


This week, as part of our new Economic and Recovery Justice Series, the Joint Center will host a Twitter chat on permanently expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit at 11 a.m. ET, Friday, Dec. 10. Jessica Fulton, vice president of Policy, Joint Center, will be joined by Brakeyshia Samms, senior policy analyst, Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, and Chuck Marr, senior director of Federal Tax Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Join us on Twitter @JointCenter. The Twitter chat follows the release of a new policy brief that illustrates both how the U.S. tax code fails childless Black workers and why it’s imperative to permanently expand the EITC to confront this issue.

The Joint Center thanks the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Boulé Foundation, the Democracy Fund, Toyota Motor North America, Inc., UPS, and the Walmart Foundation for additional support that has allowed us to do some of our COVID-19 and Black Communities work.