Bernanke briefs senators on bond buying

By Reuters
Posted Nov. 17, 2010 at 11:12 a.m.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was briefing members of the Senate Banking Committee late Wednesday morning on the central bank’s controversial bond-buying plan, congressional aides said.

The U.S. central bank’s early November decision to launch a second round of large-scale asset purchases has led to a political backlash from Republicans who argue it is setting the ground for inflation and debasing the dollar.

Two influential Republican lawmakers on Tuesday called for rewriting the Fed’s mandate to make the central bank focus solely on inflation. Currently, the Fed is required to pursue both price stability and full employment.

In addition, several well-known Republican economists have attacked the Fed’s decision to buy a further $600 billion in long-term U.S. government debt in open letter to Bernanke.

A number of top officials at the central bank, including Vice Chairman Janet Yellen and New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley, have offered rare on-the-record interviews to defend the plan.

The Fed’s decision has fomented dissent from within the central bank and led many emerging market nations to complain about a related weakening in the dollar.

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