Ben Bernanke secured confirmation to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve on Thursday after a heavy lobbying campaign of Senators by President Barack Obama.
The Senate voted 70-30 to give Bernanke another four years at the Fed. His nomination had been hanging in the balance before Obama made personal appeals to Senators to vote in favor. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) led the liberal opposition to the Fed chief, arguing that he showed too much favor to Wall Street and not enough to Main Street. Conservatives such as Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) blasted Bernanke for his role in the Troubled Asset Relief Program of 2008 and the Fed’s overall lack of transparency.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), initially on the fence on the nomination, were persuaded by Obama to vote in favor. They later helped the president corral other Senate Democrats to support Bernanke’s installment. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) led the GOP whip effort.
Bernanke, named Time’s Person of the Year in 2009, was appointed in 2005 by President George W. Bush and renominated by Obama last year. His current term expires Sunday.