WASHINGTON — Though Republicans argued Thursday that the Federal Reserve Board stands to gain "sweeping" powers under the Obama administration's regulatory reform plan, a top official reiterated the central bank's view that the new authority would be merely "incremental."

The proposal to establish the Fed as a systemic risk regulator is a "natural outgrowth of the Federal Reserve's existing supervisory and regulatory responsibilities," Donald Kohn, the Fed's vice chairman, told a House subcommittee. "Through our role as consolidated supervisor of all bank holding companies, the Federal Reserve has long been responsible for supervising many of the most important U.S. financial institutions."

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