December 2nd, 2009
08:34 PM ET
11 months ago

Early fireworks in Bernanke confirmation drama

A Vermont senator has placed a hold on the nomination of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, pictured.
A Vermont senator has placed a hold on the nomination of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, pictured.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - On the eve of what's expected to be a tough confirmation hearing Thursday, one senator has thrown a political roadblock intended to stymie Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's second term.

Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issued a statement late Wednesday saying he will prevent Bernanke's nomination by placing a hold, an informal practice by which a senator informs the majority leader that he does not wish a particular measure to reach the floor for a vote.

"The American people overwhelmingly voted last year for a change in our national priorities to put the interest of ordinary people ahead of the greed of Wall Street and the wealthy few," said Sanders, one of Bernanke's sharpest critics, in a statement. "What American people did not bargain for was another four years for one of the key architects of the Bush economy."

Sanders said Bernanke, who took the helm of the Fed in 2006, could have averted the financial crisis in several ways, but failed at "core responsibility of the Federal Reserve" and thus "it's time for him to go."

Among the litany of reasons he cited for his move, the statement from Sanders' office noted that unemployment had more than doubled under Bernanke's watch and more than 120 banks have failed since he became chairman.

Bernanke's first term expires next month.

Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., would not need to recognize Sanders' hold, but Sanders could filibuster the motion to nominate the Fed chairman for another 4-year term.

A spokesman for Senator Reid would not comment on the hold by Sanders.


Filed under: Ben Bernanke • Federal Reserve
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. S.B.

    I am inclined to agree with Sanders that the Federal Reserve showed poor leadership as the economic mess we're in unfolded, But I think Greenspan is much more to blame for the whole mess than Bernanke. However, some new leadership might increase the confidence of the American people.

    December 2, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. Fitz in Texas

    Sure would be nice if Ben Bernanke got booted out the door.

    December 2, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. Stu- SW Florida

    I agree... give him the boot!

    December 2, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. catmom

    So, Bernanke was okay when he was appointed by George Bush but he is not okay now? Why?

    December 2, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Kathy in Florida

    Get rid of Bernanke and Geithner, and the rest of the of the gang. Perhaps the economy will improve. We need new blood.

    December 2, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. ted

    Leave it to a guy from a small New England state to do this. Good for Bernie and good for Vermont. More power to them.

    December 2, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  7. suzi

    Go get 'em Bernie. this bush rerun makes me sick. Get rid of all the retreads. we wanted change, we need change. And while your're at it try & clean out the bush appointees in the justice dept.

    December 2, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Bernie Sanders is a self-described flaming socialist who, as far as I'm concerned, ought to be exiled to Cuba or North Korea. But I agree with him on this one.

    December 2, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. Sir No Name

    Bravo to Senator Sanders!!
    However, in the end I am afraid it will be SSDD.

    December 2, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. annie against biased news

    Why should this jerk get another term?

    December 2, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  11. andy (vermont)

    as someone who is allegedly "represented" by this man no matter what you think of the financial crisis it simply could not have been averted in the manner it was without ben bernanke...as for sanders he's a complete joke and it continues to baffle me how our state decides to elect him election after election

    December 2, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. billy123

    I agree it is time for Bernanke to go.

    December 2, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  13. Ken in NC

    It's time to let Ben Bernanke go. He has served Wall Street well and increased their chances of survival by more than 200 or 300%. It's time now to put someone in place that is going to help the small town banks that do the local lending.

    They are the ones that loan to the working man and right now they can't make loans because they are doing everything they can to keep the doors open. If they close then our economy goes down the tube.

    DUMP BENNY AND MOVE ON.

    December 2, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. JES

    Let him go so he can look for another job like the rest of us.

    December 2, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  15. mark

    this man is a hero an saved our economy, people should be thanking him profusely.

    December 2, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  16. Rob

    GOOD!!! Thank you!

    December 2, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  17. Aaron

    Why this guy was not forced to resign after presiding over the biggest financial disaster since the first Great Depression is beyond me. He should not even be up for a confirmation hearing for the job. Sanders is rid on target. Bernanke has done a horrendous job at the Fed and needs to be sent on his merry way. If his performance had occurred outside the protections of a government job, he'd had been fired and possibly prosecuted. Political protection will prevent him from ever being called to responsibility for the disaster he has presided over.

    December 2, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  18. Dan, Idaho Falls

    Another term? Yes. In Sing-Sing !

    December 2, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  19. J.P.

    Audit the FED!

    December 2, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  20. chris from va

    Good for Sen. Sanders. He couldn't have said it any better– it is time for Bernanke to go!!!!

    December 2, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  21. Shayne from NH

    Go Bernie Go!! We support you!

    December 2, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  22. Jean 2

    Here we go again, what is happening to the senate every one is flexing their "filibuster" muscle!!!

    December 3, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  23. JR

    Senator Bernie Sanders is 100% right. People voted for President Obama last fall, but we mostly voted against anything related to the last administration, included Chairman Ben Bernanke.
    I am not sure what President Obama really wants to accomplish by bringing Ben Bernanke back except his own dream to be like President Abraham Lincoln. However, I would say that such nomination is just an insult to people who voted for change.
    If President Obama couldn't find another American for the job, then he can put me. At least it would be change, and we voted for change.
    Frankly, I always disagree with any decision Ben Bernanke takes. They don't and they will not help how struggling economy.

    December 3, 2009 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  24. Jason Travers

    I want to see how much debt the U.S. can rack up and not go into financial collapse. I think it's fascinating. Put on a few more trillions of debt on top, and double the unemployment rate yet again, Bernanke! I'm sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to watch these fireworks when they go off... this is better than watching football or any other sport! GO BERNANKE!!!

    December 3, 2009 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  25. Beverly in NC

    I think Congress should be reminded it was their actions that deregulated the banks which directly led to the financial disaster we have faced and are stil trying to recover from.

    The Fed enforces regulations for the banks chartered by it. They have no control over Republican stupidity and greed motivations in letting the banks run wild.

    Congress should spend time getting regulations back in place since most banks have gone right back to their greed and risk behavior. We would all be better served when regulations are back in place and then they can argue over the Fed Chair.

    December 3, 2009 01:08 am at 1:08 am |