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updated: 2/27/2013 12:37 PM

Bernanke defends Fed's low-interest-rate policies

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  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Financial Services Committee hearing on: Monetary Policy and the state of the Economy.

      Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Financial Services Committee hearing on: Monetary Policy and the state of the Economy.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Facing criticism from Republican lawmakers, Chairman Ben Bernanke stood behind the Federal Reserve's low-interest-rate policies Wednesday and sought to reassure Congress that the central bank has a handle on the risks.

In his second day of testimony on Capitol Hill, Bernanke told members of the House Financial Services Committee that the bond purchases are needed to help boost a still-weak economy.

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The bond purchases help lower long-term interest rates, which encourages more borrowing and spending.

Republicans said the bond purchases could generate higher inflation.

"We have gone too far in monetary policy and the monetary easing and it is in this member's opinion time to pull back," said Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif.

Bernanke said the Fed is weighing the costs and the benefits.

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