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Senate Dems Not Sure They Can Get Enough Votes to Reconfirm Bernanke

January 21, 2010 9:50 PM

Amidst the voter anger at Wall Street and Washington, D.C., ABC News has learned that the Senate Democratic leadership isn't sure there are enough votes to re-confirm Ben Bernanke for another term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Bernanke's term expires on Jan. 31.

The White House did not respond to many requests for comment.

"The American people are disgusted with the greed and recklessness of Wall Street," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in an interview with The Associated Press last month. "People are asking, 'Why didn't the Fed intervene at the appropriate time to stop the casino-type activities of large financial companies?'"

Sanders, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., have all put holds on Bernanke's nomination, requiring 60 votes to proceed to a vote.

Voter anger is of heightened concern to members of Congress given the surprise victory of Sen.-elect Scott Brown, R-Mass., who rode a tide of voter discontent and economic anxiety to an upset victory in a special election earlier this week.

Last month, the Senate Banking Committee voted in favor of Bernanke's nomination by a vote of 16-7, not exactly a reflection of overwhelming positive feelings towards the Fed chair given the fact that he was first appointed in 2006 by President George W. Bush and nominated by President Obama for a second term last August.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., at one point was planning on scheduling a vote on Bernanke for Friday, but the Senate is currently in the midst of a debate over raising the debt limit and the vote has been pushed.

The majority leader met with Bernanke earlier today and issued a statement saying that he believes "more pressure needs to be applied to banks to lend money to small businesses and keep more Americans in their homes." Reid said that the "American people expect our economic leaders to keep Wall Street honest and level the playing field for middle class families, and I will continue to hold their feet to the fire to ensure this happens. As the Senate prepares to take up Chairman Bernanke's nomination, I look forward to hearing more from him about how he intends to address these issues.”

Roll Call reported this week that at the Senate Democratic caucus meeting on Wednesday, "according to senators, liberals spoke out against confirming Bernanke for a second term. Those liberals tried to make the case that the White House needs to put in place fresh economic advisers to focus on 'Main Street' issues like unemployment rather than Wall Street concerns. Moderates were more reserved, senators said, but have similarly withheld their support for Bernanke."

January 21, 2010 | Permalink | Share | User Comments (294)

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Bernanke has been instrumental in reducing my income by 25% with his artificially low interest rates, but I shudder to think what monetary policy would be if Congress had control of it.

Posted by: Fedphucksfrugal | Jan 25, 2010 1:20:08 AM

He supports the policies that got us into this mess... bye, bye BS Bernanke.
He is more apt in helping our great country thru the world of acedemia or consulting BUT NOT AS THE HEAD OF THE FED.

Posted by: Qwerty | Jan 23, 2010 6:22:27 PM

Its absurd to totally blame bernanke for this mess. There is more than enough to go around including congress. Congress has oversight responsibility for the financial systems where were all these "outraged" politicinas when it was going on? To use voter discontent as an excuse is pathetic. we do not vote for the fed chief congress wants a scapegoat to salvage their declining stature and bernanke is the chosen sacrafice

Posted by: bucki | Jan 23, 2010 4:44:37 PM

How is the defeat of Bernanke a bad thing? Isn't that what should happen to people who do a crappy job?

Posted by: NatetheGrate | Jan 23, 2010 3:03:44 PM

Well put and just another reason to contact your senator and tell them that it is time for a CHANGE>

1st: Instead of allowing our economy to correct an errant subdivision, the statist politicians Put The Whole Economy in Jeopardy by enabling it. Bernanke was part of that.

2nd: He admitted, almost like he was proud of it, that we are #2 to China now, economically. He's also expressed doubt in the dollar as a viable currency. Good job, Ben! Great 'accomplishments' that you've presided over.

3rd: The Federal Reserve had a 50 billion dollar profit this year. (Very strange institution.) Exxon had a 40 billion dollar profit last year, and the politicians screamed about it. Now, all you hear is the sound of crickets.

Posted by: N.S. In Georgia | Jan 23, 2010 12:29:48 PM

Who do the American people think they are by questioning Jewish money lenders as to who serves as chairman of their biggest bank? If Bernanke is voted out, as chairman of the Fed, they will simply appoint another Jew in his place.

Posted by: plumbbob | Jan 23, 2010 11:03:30 AM

It is time for Bernanke to go and don't feel sorry for him because Goldman Sachs et al owes him a great deal.

The list of Bernanke's failings would fill more space than I am allowed for this post. Folks can contact their senators and demand they vote against Bernanke. That is freedom and senators are supposed to represent their voters and not be mini-dictators doing what they want.

Hopefully Obama will remove Geithner, take some sound advice from Volker, and salvage the next three years,learning from his mistakes.

Posted by: Boat52 | Jan 23, 2010 8:17:33 AM

I think it is Congress's fault and they are responsible for financial mess of this year. You should not take it out on Bernanke, if you can take it out take it on Mass. congressman Barney Frank. We have to have these members under oath and they should answer the questions.

Posted by: P.Barman | Jan 23, 2010 4:50:43 AM

This just proves the constituent supporters of Obama and the no nothing idiots like my Senator Boxer who are running from this nomination because she feels that in a (D) state she does not want to cast an affirmative for an arguably wonderful Fed Head who saved our collective butts from total melt down; so if the markets (global)find on the 31st he's not in his spot as the Fed Head all the collective IRA wealth in the country (((((poof)))))....well Mr. President you better get your troops in line.

Posted by: whitneymuse | Jan 23, 2010 12:10:34 AM

put in a candidate that will restrict current banking practices. Force them to charge the same rates they pay to the average account holder. It is not right to only pay a portion of one percent to account holders and charge over twenty percent for credit card account holders. it should be a double edge sword. they are making fortunes off of the fees they charge for our money, yet do not want to give us a fair portion. Remember the rates they charge use to b e considered loan sharking. People went to jail for that. they should be held to the same standards they hold us to. Why charge an application fee and loan fee for loans they are collecting interest on.

Posted by: patman | Jan 22, 2010 11:30:56 PM

Someone on here posted that it's crazy to hand control over to an unaccountable third party, like the Fed. Are you actually saying you would feel better if Congress controlled the money supply? People that only care about pandering to their constituents back home and have a short term time horizon, and usually know NOTHING about economics would be better stewards for our money? Read some economic history. Before 1913 and the creation of the Fed, the US was lurching from one panic crisis to another, and they were deep recessions. Since the Fed, we have had two serious downturns in almost 100 years....a significantly better track record than pre-Fed. Of course the Fed ain't perfect, but sure is better than letting the short sighted, dim witted bozo's that makes up most of Congress run it.


Posted by: KT | Jan 22, 2010 9:26:23 PM

You act like Congress would be in total control of our money supply? They would have oversight but you'd have a branch of government in charge of the money supply. You'd recruit bankers who know what they're doing to run it.

I'd rather have a branch of government running our money supply where we could have some transparency and print our money interest free than have a private group of banksters printing our money with interest and we have no transparency.

That's a no brainer!

Before you could do that though the corrupt incumbants would have to be purged and term limits be set. You'd also have to have campaign finance reform put in place so corporations couldn't put their guy in charge of anything. This special interest BS is just that.

As if these politicians won't scratch backs when they've been given millions from huge corporations.

Posted by: Bothpartiessuck | Jan 22, 2010 10:54:13 PM

Our founding fathers would have put tax cheat Tim Geithner, his current boss, and Ben Bernanke in front of a firing squad for treason.

The President's arrogant, snickering "town hall meeting" today was about the sleaziest piece of political pandering I have witnessed in my life. May God forgive him for what he is doing to our great country, and may God bless America. We will sure be needing it.

Posted by: IndependentVoter | Jan 22, 2010 10:39:32 PM

The whole government versus the Fed arguement is a waste of time and energy. You have to get at the root of a problem, not the symptons. Wet streets do not cause rain.

The people need a free market in currency rather than a government created fiat currency. Who runs the Fed is not important. Its existence is the problem.

The special interest international bankers supported the election of Wilson. He supproted the creation of the income tax and the federal reserve.

The strongest economic decade in this country in the twentieth century. There was 7% compounded growth, 25 unemployment and 1% inflation per annum.
The U.S. had vrtually no immigration laws. Since 1913 the U.S. has had a
great depression and several recessions.
WWe have been involved in two world which we could have been avoided. We have adopted an iterventionist foreign ppolicy. How have the citizens benefited by increased taxes and regulations?

It seems that the primary benefit is only to the elitist snobs that are trying to run this country. They know what is best----sure they do.

We need real change and we need it now.
Lower taxes and less government spending. Get rid of the elitist and their divide and conquer policies. That is the recipe for peace and prosperity.

Posted by: Gary Marcus | Jan 22, 2010 10:14:32 PM

Bernanke and Geithner are the 2 biggest crooks ever.
they should both be impeached, tried for treason and hung in a public venue.

END THE FED
Return to the GOld standard

Posted by: wheninthecourse | Jan 22, 2010 10:11:19 PM

When in a hole, you don't get out by digging yourself deeper.......unless China is your destination.

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money" - Margaret Thatcher

Posted by: GDOG0717 | Jan 22, 2010 9:55:34 PM

Someone on here posted that it's crazy to hand control over to an unaccountable third party, like the Fed. Are you actually saying you would feel better if Congress controlled the money supply? People that only care about pandering to their constituents back home and have a short term time horizon, and usually know NOTHING about economics would be better stewards for our money? Read some economic history. Before 1913 and the creation of the Fed, the US was lurching from one panic crisis to another, and they were deep recessions. Since the Fed, we have had two serious downturns in almost 100 years....a significantly better track record than pre-Fed. Of course the Fed ain't perfect, but sure is better than letting the short sighted, dim witted bozo's that makes up most of Congress run it.

Posted by: KT | Jan 22, 2010 9:26:23 PM

Bernanke has successfully stopped a disastrous deflation. I think these jerks better keep him on.

Posted by: Ron | Jan 22, 2010 8:01:42 PM

i think it is time for him to go.

Posted by: fred norris | Jan 22, 2010 7:48:19 PM

Get rid of all back room crap unless it involved national defense. NO FED!! No government entity that does its own thing in the dark.

Posted by: DaveFresno | Jan 22, 2010 7:36:00 PM

This is not about Massachusetts vote or about taxpayers “footing the bill” for Wall Street recklessness (fraud). This is about a deepening economic problem in the US and possible global consequence. Congress and the President are never upfront – the public finds out much later about what is really going on. The US economy is very fragile. People are concerned about their homes and their jobs. Congress gave away American jobs to appease corporate (manufacturing) CEOs, and then Congress gave away homes to appease financial institutions. Media must stop blaming the American public. People were defrauded into believing homes were worth much more due to Wall Street greed and that there would be jobs to replace manufacturing. None of this really happened. Congress and Wall Street extorted everything they could from the American people. The people lost everything – but CEOs gained everything. Now, the administration, and Congress, must face the political consequence. The US financial service reputation has been destroyed – what do we have left?? This is far more frightening and serious than the media/Congress/Administration has led us to believe. Value of the dollar, and America’s future,is at stake. The Federal Reserve and US Treasury also know far more than they are revealing.

Posted by: katel | Jan 22, 2010 7:33:57 PM

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