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Brady Says Support Growing in Congress for Fed Price Focus

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Representative Kevin Brady said support is growing in Congress for the Federal Reserve to limit its mandate to ensure stable prices.

“I think there is growing support for a mandate focused on price, on inflation,” Brady, a Republican from Texas and vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said in an interview today with Bloomberg Television.

The Fed’s so-called dual mandate is maximum employment and stable prices. The central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee said yesterday the U.S. economy is maintaining its expansion even as the global economy slows, and refrained from taking new actions to lower borrowing costs.

Brady said he thinks Republicans in the Senate will “hold tight” to a proposed payroll tax-cut extension that passed the House yesterday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed to block the measure because it includes Republican priorities that Democrats oppose.

Posturing between House and Senate leaders could last into next week before compromise legislation can be sent to President Barack Obama. If Congress doesn’t act to extend the tax cuts by Dec. 31, employees will begin paying 6.2 percent on the first $110,100 in wages in January, up from 4.2 percent this year. The tax funds Social Security.

Brady said he thinks a bill will be approved, though “we may well be here this weekend.” Payroll tax cuts “do not have the economic bang for the buck,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Katz in Washington at ikatz2@bloomberg.net; Peter Cook in Washington at pcook6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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