A request by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and four other key lawmakers will set in motion a chain of events that could increase the Fed's flexibility and power in ways that many economists -- and members of Congress -- have yet to comprehend, according to this article. Bernanke has asked for the OK to begin paying interest to banks on the money they keep on deposit at the central bank, beginning immediately instead of in 2011. The proposal would help ailing banks but also increase the Fed's power.

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