Bernanke Defends Fed's Rescue of Bear Stearns

Top financial regulators were grilled by Congress on Thursday about whether the rescue of troubled investment bank Bear Stearns will put taxpayer money at risk.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that the Fed's role in the deal amounted to a bailout of financial markets. But he said it was necessary to avoid a financial meltdown, and he insisted that Bear Stearns got no favors from the government and is paying a severe price for bad bets on mortgages.

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