The letter was signed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).
The letter was sent just as many Republicans are calling for the Federal Reserve to be reined in, and as one early leader in the Republican presidential primary — Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) — has increased his criticism of the Fed.
It also comes just as the Federal Reserve Board of Governors plans to meet this week to consider what steps it should take to meet its dual mandate of low inflation and steady employment. Because interest rates are already essentially at zero, and the Fed has already said it would keep them there until at least 2013, many economists say there is little else the Fed can do to try to help stimulate borrowing, lending and growth.
Direct congressional pressure on the Fed to make certain decisions is rare, but again, it comes under increasing pressure from some, like Paul, to have Congress take back its authority and/or possibly set up a new mechanism for conducting monetary policy.