The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), a committee within the Federal Reserve System (the Fed), is charged under United States law with overseeing the nation's open market operations (e.g., the Fed's buying and selling of United States Treasury securities). This Federal Reserve committee makes key decisions about interest rates and the growth of the United States money supply. Under the terms of the original Federal Reserve Act, each of the Federal Reserve banks was authorized to buy and sell in the open market bonds and short term obligations of the United States Government, bank acceptances, cable transfers, and bills of exchange. Hence, the reserve banks were at times bidding against each other in the open market. In 1922, an informal committee was established to execute purchases and sales. The Banking Act of 1933 formed an official FOMC.
The FOMC is the principal organ of United States national monetary policy. The Committee sets monetary policy by specifying the short-term objective for the Fed's open market operations, which is usually a target level for the federal funds rate (the rate that commercial banks charge between themselves for overnight loans).
The FOMC also directs operations undertaken by the Federal Reserve System in foreign exchange markets, although any intervention in foreign exchange markets is coordinated with the U.S. Treasury, which has responsibility for formulating U.S. policies regarding the exchange value of the dollar.