WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- House Democrats said an expansion of the U.S. Federal Reserve's mandate first requires an explanation of its reaction to the economic recession.
"I believe that before Congress acts on the president's financial services reform proposal we need to have a thorough understanding of what caused the current financial crisis and how the federal government responded," said Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Committee members squared off with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke Thursday, questioning his role in Bank of America's acquisition of investment bank Merrill Lynch last winter.
Bernanke denied several times that he threatened to remove board members or bank executives at Bank of America from their jobs if the firm backed away from the deal it had been studying since September, The Washington Post reported Friday.
Republicans have been the most consistent critics of the concept of expanding the Fed's role, but Democrats have also expressed doubts.
"We can't afford to make the Fed a super-regulator ... without also increasing its transparency in meaningful ways," said Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio.