WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve policymakers are poised to have a lively debate today about what steps – if any – are needed to get the economy moving. But few expect any major initiatives to come out of the meeting.
There are differing views at the Fed’s main policymaking group – the Federal Open Markets Committee – about what should be done. And some pressure is off after a few mildly positive economic reports showed the pace of layoffs has slowed, shoppers’ appetites to spend has picked up, and factory production is growing.
The reports have helped to ease concerns about the economy slipping back into a new recession, giving Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues a little breathing room.
Even without action, the group could send a stronger signal that it is prepared to act if it looked like the economy was in danger of heading into another recession.
Policymakers’ discussions today are likely to focus on what specifically would trigger the Fed to take bolder action. Those discussions could tee up a decision later this year, at the Fed’s Nov. 2-3 meeting or at its last regularly scheduled session of the year on Dec. 14.
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