When the Federal Reserve Board holds its first policymaking meeting of 2020 on Jan. 29-30, several members of the Federal Open Market Committee that opposed key decisions in 2019 will be missing.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard — who dissented twice in 2019, favoring bigger rate cuts than those approved by his colleagues — will be off the committee. So will Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren and Kansas City Fed President Esther George, both of whom dissented from the Fed’s three decisions to cut rates by 25 basis points in July, September and October of 2019, preferring no change instead.
These three Fed bank presidents are among the four bank presidents whose memberships on the policymaking FOMC change annually. The FOMC also consists of the seven Federal Reserve Board governors and the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who is a permanent member of the committee. The seven Fed bank presidents who aren’t members of the FOMC, however, participate in the discussion of Fed rate changes and economic outlooks at policymaking meetings.
Joining the FOMC in 2020 are two other bank presidents who were skeptical about the need for the three rate cuts in 2019 — Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker — along with Dallas Fed President Robert Steven Kaplan, who didn’t oppose the rate cuts but wasn’t a strong supporter of them, and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, who has been a strong advocate for lower rates.
Kashkari, who became Minneapolis Fed president in early 2016, was last a member of the FOMC in 2017, when he opposed all three rate hikes that year. He has said he would recommend against raising the federal funds rate until core inflation reaches the Fed’s 2% target. The last time the Fed’s favored inflation target, the core PCE deflator, approached 2% was in late 2018.
— Check out Slower U.S. Growth Expected in 2020 on ThinkAdvisor.