Friday, December 04, 2009

Bernanke Has Support of Majority on Senate Banking Panel

Bernanke Has Support of Majority on Banking Panel; Bloomberg

Ben S. Bernanke has the backing of a majority of U.S. senators on the Banking Committee for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman.

Eight Democrats and four Republicans, among the 23 lawmakers on the panel overseeing the central bank, made their views known in interviews, comments to reporters or written statements. Some said they will support Bernanke, while others said they’re leaning in his favor.

Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, said yesterday that Bernanke has “done a pretty good job,” and that anger in Congress over the Fed’s role in the financial crisis is “misplaced.” Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, said Nov. 20 he will “absolutely” vote for Bernanke.

Criticism of the central bank has mounted in Congress since President Barack Obama nominated Bernanke in August, with many lawmakers blaming the Fed for lax supervision of banks and for taking part in taxpayer-funded bailouts of companies including Citigroup Inc. Some senators said those concerns won’t stop them from backing the former Princeton University economist.

“He’s been far from perfect,” Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said in an interview yesterday. “He was not quick enough responding last year to many of these issues that we care about, particularly in housing. I want him to focus on jobs. But I think he’s generally done a decent job.” ...

Jim Bunning, the Kentucky Republican who was the only senator to oppose Bernanke’s first nomination in 2005, hasn’t changed his views.

“His job rating would be zero minus F,” Bunning said in an interview yesterday. “He has catered to the big banks, to the Wall Street elitists, to every major money concern in the country and in the world.”

Senator Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent who isn’t on the banking committee, said today that he placed a procedural hold on Bernanke’s nomination, which requires 60 votes to break. “Mr. Bernanke has failed,” Sanders said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s time for him to go.”

The other Democrats on the banking panel expressing support for Bernanke include South Dakota’s Tim Johnson, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, New York’s Charles Schumer, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Hawaii’s Daniel Akaka and Virginia’s Mark Warner. ...

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