Merger, nomination, low interest rates keep Congress occupied

WASHINGTON - In business news Tuesday out of the nation's Capitol:

• An executive repeated assurances about the Arizona impact of the proposed US Airways/American Airlines merger. "We anticipate the Phoenix hub will remain a really vital and important part of the new American Airlines," said US Airways' Stephen Johnson after a House subcommittee hearing on the merger's impact.

• The Senate Finance Committee approved President Obama's choice of Jacob Lew for Treasury secretary and sent the nomination to the full Senate.

• Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress the Federal Reserve's low-interest-rate policies are giving crucial support to an economy still burdened by high unemployment. He acknowledged the risks of keeping rates low indefinitely but expressed confidence such risks pose little threat now.

Wire service reports