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Republican to push inflation-only Fed bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top Republican on Thursday said he will push for legislation paring back the Federal Reserve's mandate to focus solely on controlling inflation, not ensuring full employment.

Representative Paul Ryan, the new chairman of the House of Representatives' budget committee, made the comments a day after his party took formal control over the House.

Republicans have made no secret of their desire to impose more limits on the U.S. central bank and have been critical of it on a number of scores, including its plan to buy an additional $600 billion in government bonds to try to speed up a sluggish economic recovery.

Opponents of that action, including a number of Republican lawmakers, say the program risks weakening the U.S. dollar and sowing the seeds of inflation without doing much to lift economic growth and lower unemployment.

The Fed currently has a dual mandate -- keeping inflation curbed and promoting full employment -- but Republicans in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have pledged that they will try to change that.

Representative Mike Pence of Indiana has said that he intends to introduce legislation in the House to narrow the Fed's mandate to keeping inflation at bay. Sen. Bob Corker, an influential Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, has also backed the shift.

When Pence and Corker announced their support for changing the mandate last year, a Fed spokeswoman said the central bank was not seeking a change and that the dual mandate was appropriate.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Kim Dixon, writing by Glenn Somerville, editing by Andrew Hay)

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