WASHINGTON – Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul on Wednesday held his first official hearing to examine the policies of the Federal Reserve on unemployment and economic growth.

Paul, an outspoken critic of the Fed, was tapped to chair the House financial services subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology after Republicans retook the House.

"I'm very pleased to hold our first subcommittee hearing in the new Congress on a topic that could not be more critical, namely unemployment," Paul said in a statement. "Despite enormous amounts of monetary and credit expansion by the Federal Reserve in recent years, the nation’s unemployment picture remains bleak. While many focus on the impact of fiscal policies on employment, the effect of monetary policy often goes unexamined.

Three economics experts were scheduled to testify at the hearing, including Sillinger School of Business economics professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, and Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute.

Paul, who is best known to many for advocating the Fed be abolished, blamed the central banking system for playing a role in "creating" the US unemployment crisis.

"In my view we are now experiencing the bust that inevitably results from the misallocation of capital and human resources in a period of artificially cheap credit. It is important to understand the Federal Reserve's role in creating today's unemployment crisis, while also highlighting that high unemployment and low economic growth can persist even in the face of tremendous monetary inflation," he said.

The Texas Republican is scheduled to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC on Friday. He won last year's CPAC straw poll of 2012 presidential contenders.

Paul ran for president as a libertarian in 1988 and a Republican in 2008. He hasn't ruled out another run in 2012, and also said recently he may seek Texas's open Senate seat.

His son, Rand Paul, currently serves in the US Senate.