What to Know in Washington: Fed Hawks and Doves Clash

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The Federal Reserve is reaching a pivotal moment in its fight against inflation. After more than a year of solid agreement that higher interest rates were needed, differences among policymakers have started to deepen as they weigh when to stop hiking and how long to keep rates elevated.

The participants on the Federal Open Market Committee are clustered into three main groups. The hawks are ready to tighten policy and are on the sharp lookout for inflation. The doves are inclined toward an easy policy that favors job creation. And finally, the centrists are seeking a middle ground.

Here’s a breakdown of policymakers’ views — based on Bloomberg reporting and a survey of economists — and an assessment of their influence on the policy debate:

The Hawks

Who: Fed Governor Christopher Waller and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard have led the push for more forceful actions to cool inflation since early 2021. They are joined by Loretta Mester of the Cleveland Fed, Governor Michelle Bowman, Lorie Logan of the Dallas Fed, Thomas Barkin of Richmond, and Neel Kashkari of Minneapolis.

What: The Fed hawks argue raising interest rates 5 percentage points since March 2022 hasn’t been enough to restore price stability, and have signaled they’re willing to consider raising rates more this year than the two additional quarter-point hikes that Fed officials expected when they submitted updated forecasts in June. Some wanted to raise rates last month but reluctantly went along with a one-meeting pause.

Why: They cite resilient growth along with robust job gains as signs there is not enough restraint. They don’t believe there are long lags in rates affecting the economy because financial conditions anticipate the interest-rate path.

The Centrists

Who: The centrists are led by Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who represents the entire committee and has sought consensus among the sometimes warring sides. Philip Jefferson and New York Fed President John Williams, also back Powell’s approach. Governors haven’t dissented on monetary policy since 2005 and Michael Barr, vice chair for supervision, is seen as moderate as well.

What: Their case is it’s necessary for the central bank to continue hiking, but that the pace of hikes should be slow as they near the end of the cycle. The centrists agree with the hawks on inflation and that the labor market will need to weaken to contain price pressures, however they don’t want to go too far and tip the economy into a recession.

Why: They aren’t expecting further quick improvement in prices. While goods inflation has eased and housing seems likely to progress further, services inflation, influenced by a hot labor market, is likely to be sticky.

The Doves

Who: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee have been leading calls for patience as Fed officials assess whether and to what extent further rate hikes are needed to cool the economy. Also seen in the dovish camp are Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, Governor Lisa Cook, Boston Fed President Susan Collins, and San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly.

What: The doves acquiesced in the most aggressive rate hikes in four decades but now see the risks to the economy as more balanced, and worry further increases could unnecessarily damage the labor market.

Why: Inflation is decelerating and the doves pin the cause of price pressures over the past two years mostly on pandemic-era supply-chain difficulties and disruptions caused by rapid economic changes, rather than excessive demand. They also see signs of the US economy moderating and argue more slowing is ahead.

Read the full story from Steve Matthews, Sarina Yoo, and Dave Merrill.


  • Around noon, President Joe Biden will sign a proclamation to establish the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in Illinois and Mississippi. Vice President Kamala Harris will also attend.
  • Biden will speak about expanding access to mental health care around 3 p.m.
  • Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will deliver a briefing at 3:30 p.m.


  • The House is back at 2 p.m. for votes on bills under suspension of the rules.
  • The Senate returns at 3 p.m. to resume floor work on the annual defense policy bill.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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