The Federal Reserve's decision to reopen swap lines with the European Central Bank as well as central banks in Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada puts it in a delicate political position.

Congress is moving forward a financial regulatory overhaul that could rein in the Fed amid sharp criticism of its actions before and during the financial crisis. The overseas lending program it reopened Sunday in response to pleas from Europe is among the programs lawmakers have criticized, with some suggesting the central bank is bailing out foreign banks and others saying the Fed is too secretive about details.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.