flickr-Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies on the central bank's monetary policy and the US economy before the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee.
The congressional testimony offers US lawmakers the chance to question Bernanke on the state of the US recovery and the aggressive monetary policy actions that he has led.The Fed has been heavily criticized by the Republicans for massive bond purchases that tripled the size of its balance sheet to about $3 trillion since 2008. They argue that this has allowed runaway deficit spending by President Barack Obama, risking the creation of future inflation. The US central bank has undertaken severe measures to support the country's economy in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession. Since late 2008, the Fed has held overnight interest rates near zero and has conducted three rounds of bond purchasing programs to lower long-term borrowing costs.