The “Great Recession” and the ensuing weak recovery have led the Federal Reserve (Fed) to
reevaluate its monetary policy strategy. Since December 2008, overnight interest rates have been
near zero; at this “zero bound,” they cannot be lowered further to stimulate the economy. As a
result, the Fed has taken unprecedented policy steps to try to fulfill its statutory mandate of
maximum employment and price stability. Congress has oversight responsibilities for ensuring
that the Fed’s actions are consistent with its mandate.

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