The FOMC consists of 12 members.

  1. The Board of Governors. 7 seats are allocated for it, however currently only five are taken. Members should be appointed so that a "fair representation" of "financial, agricultural, industrial, and commercial interests, and geographical divisions" is given and have to be accepted by the senate. (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/pdf/uscode12/lii_usc_TI_12_CH_3_SC_II_SE_241.pdf)
  2. The Reverse Bank Presidents. 5 seats are allocated for those, with a yearly rotation on 4 seats, ...

I was unable to find out how exactly this committee votes. It's official documents state that it's internal organization is determined by itself (http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/frseries/frseri2.htm) - I would guess that this also includes how voting about individual actions is performed.

For a new policy to take effect a consensus has to be reached. Policies are voted upon independently as shown here: http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/docs/historical/nara/bog_minutes/19511227.pdf or http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20080130a.htm

It doesn't need to be unanimously - http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/FOMC20080121confcall.pdf shows dissent from President Poole/St. Louis Fed.

Is there a implicit meaning of consent - e.g. 50% or two-thirds?

Is it in accordance with the law to not fill the two spots of the Board of Governors? If those aren't taken then the Reverse Bank Presidents effectively gained power.

  • This is really 2 different questions. What does consensus mean in this case? And Is it in accordance with the law to not fill the two spots of the Board of Governors? I do not have an answer to the second. Jul 21, 2014 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


It is a closed board so there is no real way to find out the particulars. But this board of advisors are not like a congressional committee. In congress many of the members have an adversarial relationship and agendas that often are quite contradictory. That is not the case here. The board members are generally friendly with goals that align with each other.

A consensus in these types of organizations generally means that the the majority is willing to overrule any stated objections of the minority. Those sorts of decisions are not made lightly due to the relationships and aligned agendas. When someone has a serious objection conversations continue until the majority is willing to either discard or put the proposal on hold, or the minority is willing to concede. Concession here does not mean that they changed their mind, just that they are willing to see the policy implemented.

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