Janet Yellen and company are cautiously optimistic that the U.S. economy has turned a corner, according to minutes of its December meeting.

The minutes showed that the bank stands ready to raise rates again soon if necessary.

But that could change: If Trump and the Republican Congress decide to pass deficit-financed tax cuts or infrastructure spending, which Fed economists agreed would boost economic growth, inflation could rise as well. That could hasten the expected 3 rate hikes expected to come this year—a cautious pace historically.

Our take: The markets may hang on Janet Yellen's every word, but the Fed chair is waiting for President Trump to make the first move. The minutes showed that Fed officials see the run up in the stock market, the dollar, and interest rates since the presidential election as linked "to expectations for more expansionary fiscal policies in coming years or to possible reductions in corporate tax rates."

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Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 11,520,461 — Total deaths: 535,499 — Total recoveries — 6,231,052Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 2,911,888 — Total deaths: 130,101 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,515,075Map.
  3. Public health: Case growth outpacing testing in hotspots.
  4. States: West Virginia becomes latest state to mandate facial coverings in public.
  5. Politics: Cuomo accuses Trump of "enabling" the coronavirus surge — Sen. Chuck Grassley opts out of attending GOP convention over coronavirus concerns.

Trump ramps up culture war attacks

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump's attacks are spreading to sports that are cornerstones of rural, conservative white American life.

Why it matters: The culture war that engulfed the NBA and NFL is reaching other major leagues, with teams that stonewalled activists for years suddenly showing a willingness to listen.

Foreign students could be forced to leave U.S. if colleges move online

Harvard University campus in April 2020. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Foreign college students could be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer schools if their universities move classes entirely online this fall, according to guidance released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday.

Why it matters: Several U.S. colleges and universities — most recently Harvard — have announced plans to move most or all courses online this fall due to coronavirus concerns. Many institutions rely heavily on tuition from international students.