Fed Chairman to Appear on Capitol Hill

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is due before lawmakers on Capitol Hill today and they'll likely ask him if he still thinks the economy is "frustratingly slow."

Bernanke's appearance comes after Friday's news that hiring surged in January and unemployment reached a three-year low, but he's not expected to express a radical new outlook on the economy.

When Bernanke testifies to the Senate Banking Committee, economists expect no shifts in the Fed's efforts to bolster the recovery.

They say Bernanke's tone might be slightly more upbeat than when he spoke Thursday to House members.

But they expect him to reiterate the Fed's plan to keep a key interest rate at a record low near zero until at least late 2014.

The super-low rates are meant to encourage consumers and businesses to borrow and spend and further strengthen the economy.

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