WASHINGTON, April 3, 2008 (AFP) – The US Congress Thursday steps up scrutiny of the government role in the rescue of Bear Stearns, even as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke argued the central bank “did not bail out” the Wall Street investment giant.
A Senate hearing will seek details of the deal engineered by the Federal Reserve and US Treasury to save one of the largest US investment banks from collapse with a central bank guarantee of 29 billion dollars.
Senator Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking committee, said the hearing would include testimony from Bernanke, a key US Treasury official and top executives of Bear Stearns and JPMorgan Chase, which agreed to buy the troubled firm.
“This hearing represents the first opportunity for the public and private principals involved in the rescue of Bear Stearns to come before Congress and explain to the American people the series of events which led to the unprecedented, historic action taken by the Federal Reserve,” Dodd said.
“I am eager to hear the testimony of our witnesses, and expect a full, thorough airing of the relevant facts and information. When 30 billion dollars of taxpayer money is placed at risk, it is our paramount responsibility to ensure that these actions