Fed Extends Bond Program Shrugs off good economic news, says employment still in trouble By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Jan 26, 2011 1:56 PM CST 3 comments Comments In a July 22, 2010 file photo Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Newser) – The Federal Reserve unanimously agreed to extend its $600 billion Treasury bond-purchase program today, saying the economy isn't growing fast enough to lower unemployment. The decision came from a new lineup of voting members that includes two officials who have criticized the bond purchases. They have said the purchases could eventually ignite inflation or speculative buying in assets like stocks. The Fed's assessment of the economy was nearly identical to its last meeting in December. Fed policymakers seemed to downplay recent improvements in the economy, observing that the "economic recovery is continuing, though at a rate that has been insufficient to bring about a significant improvement in labor market conditions." The bond-buying program is intended to lower rates on loans and boost stock prices, spurring more spending and invigorating the economy.