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Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, makes remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council in Washington, DC. - 


BOB MOON: The stock market expects Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to stay the course, when he delivers his semi-annual testimony to the Senate Banking Committee today. Never mind the uncertainty in the Middle East.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer joins us now, live, from Washington. Nancy, I'm guessing lawmakers are going to have some questions about the economic effects of $100-a-barrel oil.

NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Oh they sure will because higher oil prices can hurt economic growth. And senators might be worried about that. So are some economists.

I asked Marc Chandler to explain why. He's a currency strategist in New York. He says higher prices at the pump will cause consumers to pull back in other areas.

MARC CHANDLER: The more money we have to spend to fill our car full of gasoline or to heat our homes, or to feed our families the less money we have to buy other things.

MOON: So is that going to change how Bernanke and the Fed direct their economic rules, Nancy?

GENZER: Not from what I'm hearing, Bob. Chandler told me that Bernanke isn't worried that inflation will get out of hand. It's still very low. The other big thing that Bernanke will talk about today his policy of pumping money into the economy. That is not expected to change. Bernanke not expected to say the fed is backing away from that.

MOON: Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer, in Washington. Thanks.

GENZER: You're welcome.