WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of regional Federal Reserve banks calling on the central bank to raise the rate it charges commercial banks for emergency loans rose to eight in July, minutes from the Fed's discount rate meeting released on Tuesday showed.

That compared to six in June, showing growing confidence among Fed policymakers in the U.S. economic outlook.

The Federal Reserve banks of Kansas City, Richmond, Cleveland, San Francisco, Boston and St. Louis renewed their push for an increase and were joined this time around by Philadelphia and Dallas.

Those that wanted an increase cited "actual and expected strengthening in economic activity and their expectations for inflation to gradually move toward the 2 percent objective."

The Fed decided to hold the discount rate steady at 1 percent and policymakers agreed to keep the main benchmark interest rate unchanged at the subsequent policy meeting on July 26-27.

Of the Fed's 17 policymakers, 10 have a vote on the rate-setting committee. Six are permanent members confirmed by Congress, while the other four spots rotate each year among the regional Fed banks.

The heads of the Cleveland, Kansas City, Boston and St. Louis Feds are all voters this year on the main rate-setting committee.

Kansas City Fed President Esther George was the only policymaker to dissent at the July policy meeting. She has favored raising interest rates at three of the last four meetings.

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Andrea Ricci)