Bernanke Warns Congress To Avoid 'fiscal Cliff'
Most analysts said Bernanke's comments suggest that is likely.
A new bond buying program would come on top of a program the Fed launched in September to buy $40 billion a month in mortgage bonds to try to reduce long-term interest rates and make home buying more affordable. That program represented the Fed's third round of major bond purchases to expand its holdings.
Fed officials also announced at the September meeting that they planned to keep the Fed's benchmark short-term interest rate near zero through mid-2015. This rate for overnight loans has been at a record low since December 2008.
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