When Fed Chair Ben Bernanke goes before Congress next month seeking a second term, he'll run straight into cantankerous legislators riding a tide of populist rage over the Wall Street bailout and high unemployment. While the Fed acted decisively to bail out the financial markets last year, it's widely viewed as having ignored the broader economy—and Congress is looking for some serious oversight.
Ron Paul has gone it alone for decades in his anti-Fed crusade, but the AP reports that these days he counts some 307 reps and 30 senators in favor of his bill to crack the whip. But economists warn that congressional efforts to rein in the Fed's powers could harm the reserve bank's ability to aid the recovery. Says one former Fed member: "This badgering by Congress, even if there is populist sentiment, is inappropriate."