Congress Watches Uneasily as Fed, Treasury Move Boldly

Lawmakers complain of lack of oversight, being left out of loop as feds commit billions
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2008 10:47 AM CDT
Congress Watches Uneasily as Fed, Treasury Move Boldly
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.   (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)

Like sports fans second-guessing officials’ calls, lawmakers are watching uneasily from the sidelines as Treasury and Federal Reserve officials pledge billions of taxpayer dollars to fight Wall Street’s meltdown, the Washington Post reports. And, while many in both parties have been convinced the moves were appropriate, they’re worried too few players—unelected, at that—have too much power.

Lawmakers were left playing catch-up after Fed chairman Ben Bernanke decided to lend failing AIG $85 billion, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sending Rep. Barney Frank out to figure out whether Bernanke should even have the authority to make such unilateral decisions. “There's a great deal of confidence in Bernanke, but that reservoir is not limitless,” one GOP congressman said. “People need to understand what the guiding principles are behind this ad-hoc strategy. …There has to be some better understanding of that.” (More AIG stories.)

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