WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve officials have learned from past mistakes that maintaining price stability is the main contribution a central bank can make to economic prosperity, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said Wednesday."Our challenge in monetary policy is to foster, as best we can, the financial conditions that will allow this economic expansion and technological revolution to continue as long and as vigorously as possible," Greenspan said in the text of opening remarks at his confirmation hearing for a fourth term as Fed chairman.

With economic expansion in its ninth year and on track to become the longest on record in February, most members of Congress saw the hearing as little more than an opportunity to urge Mr. Greenspan's early confirmation.

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