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Schumer Said to Press Bernanke on Fed’s Role in Growth

New York Senator Charles Schumer plans to press Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke on “potential monetary options, including a new round of full-scale bond buying,” that could help promote economic growth and reduce unemployment in the face of congressional gridlock, said a Schumer aide.

The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Benanke’s testimony today before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said Schumer “plans to note that election-year politics have prevented Congress from enacting the kind of fiscal relief that the Fed chairman has subtly suggested is necessary.”

Schumer, the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat, has blamed Republicans for blocking proposals that Democrats contend will bolster small businesses and create jobs, most recently on July 12 when a Democratic plan to offer tax breaks for hiring and capital investment failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance. That same day, the chamber rejected a Republican proposal to give businesses a 20 percent tax cut.

“Given the Fed’s own reduced expectations for growth in 2012, Schumer will seek the chairman’s thoughts on potential monetary policy options, such as a new round of full-scale bond buying,” the aide said, adding that “Schumer will express his hopes that with inflation below the Fed’s 2 percent target and declining, the Fed sees fit to err on the side of fulfilling the second part of its mandate -- unemployment.”

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