National briefs: GOP assails Fed's policies
Share with others:
WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans criticized the Federal Reserve on Thursday for working to reduce unemployment and revive the housing market rather than maintaining a single-minded focus on inflation.
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke was sharply questioned by members of a House committee about the Fed's announcement last week that it planned to hold short-term interest rates near zero until late 2014, a measure that the Fed described as necessary to support a faster pace of economic recovery.
"I think this policy runs the great risk of fueling asset bubbles, destabilizing prices and eventually eroding the value of the dollar," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Committee on the Budget. "The prospect of all three is adding to uncertainty and holding our economy back."
Mr. Bernanke was calm and careful in his responses, but he did not back down.
WASHINGTON -- In the first full year of the new health care law, 3.6 million people in the government Medicare program saved $2.1 billion on prescription drugs in 2011, the Obama administration announced Thursday.
The savings are one of the first tangible benefits of the sweeping overhaul that President Barack Obama signed in March 2010.
BOSTON -- The U.S. Education Department is probing complaints that Harvard and Princeton discriminate against Asian Americans in undergraduate admissions.
The department's Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint it received in August that Harvard rejected an Asian-American candidate for the current freshman class based on race or national origin, said a department spokesman who declined to be identified, citing department policy. The agency is looking into a similar August allegation against Princeton as part of a review begun in 2008 of that school's handling of Asian-American candidates, the spokesman said.
LOS ANGELES -- Unusual wear has been found on hundreds of tubes that carry radioactive water at Southern California's San Onofre Unit 2 nuclear plant, raising questions about the integrity of equipment the company installed in a multimillion-dollar makeover in 2009.
The disclosure came two days after a tube leak at the plant's other unit prompted operators to shut down the reactor as a precaution. A tiny amount of radiation could have escaped, but officials say workers and the public were not endangered.
CHICAGO -- An Illinois Supreme Court ruling that gave one inmate new hope for freedom Thursday also could revive appeals by more than a dozen others who claim they confessed to crimes under torture by Chicago police officers, defense attorneys said.
Justices ruled Stanley Wrice can continue seeking a new hearing on evidence that officers beat him with a flashlight and rubber hose until he confessed to a brutal rape.
The Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people during the Fort Hood shooting rampage will go on trial in June, a military judge ruled Thursday after agreeing to a three-month delay for Maj. Nidal Hasan. ... A 715-year old copy of Magna Carta will return to public view Feb. 17 at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., after a conservation effort repaired the English declaration of human rights that inspired the United States' founding documents.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published February 3, 2012 12:00 am