A House of Representatives committee on Tuesday said it would subpoena the Federal Reserve to force the central bank to surrender documents regarding its role in Bank of America's takeover of Merrill Lynch last year.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns was joined by the ranking Republican Darrell Issa in agreeing to serve the subpoena on the Federal Reserve.

The lawmakers said the Fed would only allow committee staff to review documents at the Federal Reserve's Washington offices, which they did for several days, according to a letter dated June 3 to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.

Following the staff review, we conclude that we will need copies of these documents, they wrote.

Among the documents sought are handwritten notes from a December 19 meeting between Bernanke, Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis and others.

Lewis has said the government pressured him to pursue the deal and to withhold information about losses at Merrill from investors, but regulators have disputed this characterization.

Bernanke in May resolutely refuted that claim.

I absolutely did not in any way ask Mr Lewis to obscure any disclosures or to fail to report information that should be reported, he told a congressional committee last month.

The lawmakers had previously asked Ben Bernanke to turn over dozens of documents related to the merger on March 30 and April 23.

A spokeswoman for the Fed said it comply with the request.

(Reporting by Kim Dixon: editing by Carol Bishopric)