Saturday, December 05, 2009

Senator Moves to Hold Up Bernanke Confirmation

Senator Moves to Hold Up Bernanke Confirmation; The New York Times

Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont said on Wednesday that he would try to block the Senate from confirming Ben S. Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal

The move is unlikely to derail Mr. Bernanke’s reappointment, but it could slow the confirmation process and give the Fed’s critics additional opportunity to press their case. As a practical matter, it means Senate Democratic leaders will have to line up 60 votes in favor of Mr. Bernanke rather than a simple majority at a time when the Federal Reserve is under increasing populist attacks from lawmakers on both the right and the left.

Mr. Sanders, an independent, is not a member of the Senate banking committee, but he has frequently accused the Federal Reserve of bailing out Wall Street firms and the banking industry at the expense of ordinary citizens. ...

The Fed chairman was appointed by President George W. Bush and took over the central bank in February 2006. Despite his Republican ties, Mr. Bernanke forged a close working relationship with President Obama and his top economic advisers during the financial crisis.

Mr. Sanders, one of the Senate’s most left-leaning lawmakers, had already said he would vote against Mr. Bernanke’s appointment. He has also sponsored a bill that would allow Congress to “audit” all of the Federal Reserve’s activities, including its core mission of steering the economy by setting interest rates.

Mr. Sanders’s bill is identical to one championed by Representative Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, which Mr. Bernanke and other top Fed officials have adamantly opposed on the grounds that it would undermine the central bank’s independence.

But in a surprising setback to the Fed, the House Financial Services Committee voted last month to approve Mr. Paul’s bill as an amendment to a broader bill on financial regulation.

Comment: Senator Sanders might be the most left leaning in the US Senate but like Ron Paul he isn't beholden to special interest and he's smart enough to smell a rat.

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