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Expand chart
Data: St. Louis Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Fed delivered its first conflicted policy decision under Chair Jerome Powell last week, when St. Louis Fed president James Bullard opposed the decision to keep rates at their current 2.25%–2.50% level.

Driving the news: Minneapolis Fed president Neel Kashkari, who is not a voting member of the rate-setting committee, went further on Friday, calling for an unorthodox 50-basis-point cut to U.S. overnight interest rates immediately.

What they're saying:

  • Bullard: "[B]oth the core and headline personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation measures have declined substantially since the end of last year and are presently running some 40 to 50 basis points below the FOMC's 2% inflation target. ... Market-based measures of inflation expectations have also weakened considerably and indicate an expected inflation rate substantially below the Committee's target."
  • Kashkari: "The Committee has consistently been too optimistic in forecasting inflation returning to 2 percent. ...[W]e have said that 2 percent is a target, not a ceiling, so if we are under or over 2 percent, it should be of equal concern."

The other side: Bullard and Kashkari both talked about the negative impact tariffs and the U.S.-China trade war could have on the economy, but neither mentioned the impact of tariffs on inflation.

  • What they're not saying: Tariffs are a tax on imported goods paid by U.S. businesses that new research from the New York Fed suggests would increase taxpayers' overall costs by $106 billion a year.
  • There was also no mention of ultra-low interest rates' failure to stimulate inflation in Europe and Japan, where central banks have held rates below 0 for years and look poised to take them even further negative in the coming months. Inflation has not risen to 2% sustainably in either place.

Go deeper: Why Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari advocated for a rate cut

Go deeper

Cuomo scandal snares Dems on #MeToo

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images   

The searing sexual harassment allegations made against Gov. Andrew Cuomo are trouble for Democrats far beyond Albany and New York.

Why it matters: They hammered Donald Trump after the "Access Hollywood" tape. Pilloried Brett Kavanaugh over Christine Blasey Ford. Defended President Biden when he was accused of inappropriate touching. Now, Democrats have to show whether they walk the "#MeToo" talk.

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.