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Reid Tees Up Votes on Bernanke, Debt Limit

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that in the coming days he will bring up an increase in the debt limit and the confirmation of Ben Bernanke for another term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Final votes on both controversial items, which have caused heartburn among Democrats, are not expected to occur until the end of the week, after President Barack Obama delivers his highly anticipated State of the Union speech.“It’s our goal to finish the legislation on the debt limit quickly,— Reid said on the floor. “Hopefully we can do that and maybe even the Bernanke nomination by Thursday or Friday.— Votes will not occur on Wednesday, Reid said, since Republicans are scheduled to be off campus at an all-day annual retreat at the Library of Congress. Reid assured that despite the time-sensitivity of both the debt limit bill and Bernanke’s nomination, “we’re not going to interfere in any way— with the GOP retreat. Senate Democrats scheduled their retreat for next week. Reid filed a procedural motion on the debt limit package Monday but hopes to reach a time agreement with Republicans and avoid going through the lengthy cloture process. Reid will likely have to file cloture on Bernanke’s nomination, which is the subject of several holds and has been widely criticized by liberal Democrats and some Republicans. Bernanke was appointed in 2005 by President George W. Bush and was renominated by Obama earlier this year. His term expires Sunday.

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