Yellen strongly hints Fed is ready to raise rates this month

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen faced lawmakers Thursday just two weeks before a highly anticipated meeting in which central bank policymakers could increase a key interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade.

Yellen and other Fed officials have indicated they could act at their December 15-16 policymaking meeting to nudge up the federal funds rate, which has been near zero since late 2008 in an effort to stimulate the economy.

Members of Congress' Joint Economic Committee are expected to question Yellen on the timing of the rate hike and the Fed's unprecedented actions to battle the Great Recession and its aftermath.

In her prepared remarks, Yellen signaled the Fed is ready to increase the interest rate, saying "the U.S. economy has recovered substantially since the Great Recession."