Multiple Sources Report Bernanke in Doubt
I can't tell from a reading of the financial press whether this is second guessing, rumor, wishful thinking or otherwise, but there is a great deal of speculation going on in Washington regarding what the impact of President Obama's announcements with regards to the banking industry may mean for the confirmation prospects of Bernanke to a second term at the Federal Reserve.
From the press, one can deduce that the Senate dems are running scared with having to vote on this soon in the wake of this week's Massachusetts vote. And Bernanke himself is having difficulty scheduling hearings with the Senate. Some think his scheduling difficulties are morphing into an avoidance by the Senate to reconfirm him. That remains to be seen. However, the following media sources are raising the issue of his confirmation prospects.
Ben Bernanke’s nomination to serve a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve appears to be in peril. Bernanke is up for a second term at the Fed; his current term expires in 10 days on Jan. 31. A handful of Senators had previously threatened to filibuster the nomination, but this week the number of opposing lawmakers appeared to grow, further dimming his prospects for installment.
At Wednesday’s Democratic caucus meeting, 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.
Bernanke’s nomination is already the subject of holds by GOP Sens. Jim Bunning (Ky.), Jim DeMint (S.C.) and David Vitter (La.), as well as Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), who caucuses with the Democrats. Reid will likely have to file a procedural motion to overcome the holds, a move that will require 60 votes. But with support among Democrats for Bernanke seeming to wane, it’s unclear whether Reid can meet that mark.
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.