WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Republican senators on Wednesday the Fed can’t and won’t throw a safety net under stressed European governments or financial institutions, lawmakers said.
“We’re all concerned — is the American taxpayer going to be bailing out European nations and banks?” Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters after a meeting with the Fed chairman.
“He said, no, he doesn’t have the intention or authority to do that,” Graham said.
Bernanke met with Republican Senators a day after the Fed said risks that the debt crisis roiling European financial markets could jump the Atlantic is a major risk to the fragile U.S. recovery.
Lawmakers said Bernanke gave a presentation about the steps European authorities are taking to stem the crisis and answered questions but did not offer any clues about the path of U.S. policy.
“He’s very concerned,” Senator Orrin Hatch said. “He did say, if they can’t get their thing in order, it could affect us, a collapse over there would be detrimental to us.”
Reporting By Mark Felsenthal and Pedro Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Padraic Cassidy