Reid Gives Embattled Bernanke Some Much-Needed, High-Level Support

Posted January 22, 2010 at 5:00pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) threw his support behind Ben Bernanke on Friday, breathing new life into the Federal Reserve chairman’s embattled nomination for a second term. “I made it clear that to merit confirmation, Chairman Bernanke must redouble his efforts to ensure families can access the credit they need to buy or keep their home, send their children to college or start a small business,— said Reid, who met privately with Bernanke on Thursday. “He has assured me he will soon outline plans for making that happen, and I eagerly await them.—Reid’s endorsement comes on the same day that two more Senate Democrats, Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Russ Feingold (Wis.), announced they will oppose Bernanke’s nomination. A growing number of liberal Democrats have spoken out against confirming Bernanke to a second term atop the federal government’s central bank, charging that his policies focus too much on Wall Street and not enough on “Main Street— issues like unemployment. Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005 and renominated by President Barack Obama last year, Bernanke’s current term as Fed chief expires Jan. 31. His nomination is 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. To break the stalemate, Reid will likely have to file a procedural motion that will require 60 votes for passage. It is unclear whether there are enough votes in the Senate to meet that hurdle.