By Mark Felsenthal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The popularity of Tea Party candidates in U.S. elections could spell renewed efforts to curtail the power and independence of the Federal Reserve, which has been cast as an emblem of big government overreach.
Outsider candidates thriving on the right flank of the Republican Party have tapped anger at bank bailouts, soaring budget deficits and President Barack Obama’s healthcare and regulatory initiatives to topple establishment GOP politicians in elections around the country.
Tea Party members have lambasted the Fed for its unprecedented and aggressive steps to bolster the economy in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, saying the moves have exposed a lack of accountability at the Fed and raise the risk of damaging inflation down the road.
Efforts to submit the Fed’s monetary policy decisions to congressional review or to give Congress say in appointing officials at regional Fed banks could gain fresh momentum if Republicans win big, as expected, on November 2.
Bolstered by the Tea Party buzz, the GOP is seen taking control from Obama’s Democrats of one or possibly both houses of Congress. Although legislative gridlock is likely to limit how much activists can accomplish, the tone of congressional debate over the Fed could become much more confrontational…
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