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article imageSenator Sanders moves to block Bernanke confirmation

By Oliver VanDervoort     Dec 3, 2009 in Politics
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 Reserve.
While Sanders' move itself cannot hold up Bernanke's confirmation very long, but it will force those who wish to see Bernanke get another term, reach 60 votes instead of just a simple majority.
Reaching 60 votes is probably a given, but it certainly won't be easy when dealing with the populist outrage coming from both sides of the aisle as the economy continues to slump. Some Senators on the banking committee have advocated removing some of Bernanke's regulatory authority.
Mr. Sanders, who is an independent who usually caucuses with the Democrats isn't on the Banking committee, but he has railed against the Federal reserve quite frequently.
“In this country, there is profound disgust at what happened on Wall Street,” Mr. Sanders told the New York Times. “People want a new direction and people are asking, where was the Fed? How did the Fed allow this to happen, when one of their mandates is to oversee the safety and soundness of the banking system?”
Mr. Sanders said he would place a hold on Mr. Bernanke’s nomination when it reached the Senate floor. Under Senate rules, lawmakers would need 60 votes to override Mr. Sanders and proceed with a vote.
While these type of blocking maneuvers can slow the process down, it's unlikely to kill the nomination.
Bernanke was appointed by George W. Bush in 2006, but worked closely with President Obama and his financial advisers during the economy's collapse last fall and winter.
Bernanke's current four year term runs out at the end of January 2010, and even if he wasn't confirmed by then he would serve as 'acting' chairman of the Fed until he was indeed confirmed, or his replacement was confirmed.
Senator Chris Dodd is the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and he has said that Bernanke is 'probably' the best man for the job given the current state of the economy, but Dodd has also moved to strip the Fed Chair of most of its powers as a banking regulator, and consolidating all the federal government’s bank regulatory efforts in a new agency. Last week, Mr. Bernanke wrote an op-ed which drew sharp opposition to these proposals.
The top Republican on the Banking Committee, Richard Shelby has also had pointed comments for Bernanke, but has not yet said how he would vote on the confirmation.
More about Bernie sanders, Ben bernanke, Federal reserve
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