Federal Reserve policymakers cut the pace of bond buying for a second straight meeting, uniting behind a strategy of gradual withdrawal from Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented easing policy, as Janet Yellen prepares to succeed him as chairman.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said it will trim monthly purchases by $10 billion to $65 billion, citing labor-market indicators that “were mixed but on balance showed further improvement” and economic growth that has “picked up in recent quarters.”
Fed district bank presidents rotate voting on monetary policy each year, with Cleveland’s Sandra Pianalto, Philadelphia’s Charles Plosser, Richard Fisher of Dallas, and Narayana Kocherlakota of Minneapolis voting in 2014. Fed governors hold permanent votes, as does the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who serves as FOMC vice chairman.
Seven regional Fed bank presidents have dissented since 2011. The Richmond Fed’s Jeffrey Lacker objected to every decision in 2012. Kansas City’s Esther George objected all of last year, until the Fed announced its first tapering in December—a decision that drew an objection from the Boston Fed’s Eric Rosengren, who believed the Fed was cutting back too soon. Rosengren later withdrew his opposition, saying in an interview this month he would support a gradual tapering, even though he would have preferred to begin later.