The statement, though, did omit a reference from last month that fiscal tightening could slow growth in jobs and the broader economy, and it excluded mention of the political battling in Washington.
"There is no explicit mention of the government shutdown or what impact it might have on the economy or the Fed's monetary policy," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. "It is possible that Fed officials want to downplay the recent two-week closure and the potential for another shutdown early next year because they still intend to begin tapering the asset purchases at the FOMC meeting in December.
(Read the full statement here)
The stock market meandered in the minutes after the statement but later dropped precipitously, with the Dow industrials losing close to 100 points at one juncture before finally closing off 61.59 points, a drop of just 0.4 percent.
Bond yields moved higher as well, with the 10-year Treasury near session highs, though the dollar was higher as well.
Some investors interpreted the remarks as at least slightly more hawkish in terms of economic prospects and Fed policy response.
"The Fed is on hold, but the tone of the statement and the failure to bend on account of the government shutdown is very likely to bring forward the market's timetable of tapering from March where we feel the pendulum has swung too far," Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak, said in a note.
(Read more: QE expected to continue through 2014: CNBC survey)
Where once the market had expected a retreat on quantitative easing to begin before the end of 2013, consensus is now that tapering won't begin until at least March 2014, though that may change now.