January 23rd, 2010
08:15 PM ET
5 years ago

Source: Obama calls senators to 'check in' on Bernanke nod

President Barack Obama called an unknown number of senators Saturday to 'check in' on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's confirmation for a second term.
President Barack Obama called an unknown number of senators Saturday to 'check in' on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's confirmation for a second term.

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama called an unknown number of senators Saturday to "check in" on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's confirmation for a second term, a senior administration official said.

Obama reappointed him to the position in August, but the Senate needs to confirm him before his terms - which began in 2006 - ends January 31.

The official, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to discuss the private phone calls, said the senators told the president that Bernanke will win another confirmation.

Obama remains "confident" that the Senate will confirm Bernanke for a second term, the official said.

On Friday, both Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-California, and Russell Feingold, D-Wisconsin, said they plan to vote against Bernanke, a Republican.

"Dr. Bernanke played a lead role in crafting the Bush administration's economic policies, which led to the current economic crisis," Boxer said. "Our next Federal Reserve Chairman must represent a clean break from the failed policies of the past."

Several other Democratic senators have told CNN they're undecided. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a statement late Friday saying he would support Bernanke, but "my support is not unconditional."

It remains unclear whether Bernanke's confirmation is in jeopardy, because he is likely to garner some Republican support. A senior Democratic source told CNN Saturday that Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, has told Democrats that he believes that, at this point, 10 to 12 Republicans will vote for Bernanke.

The Senate needs 60 votes to approve Bernanke to overcome opposition from several members, including Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, who is leading the charge against him.

On Saturday, a number of senators released statements in support of Bernanke.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, and Gregg, of New Hampshire, issued a joint statement saying that Bernanke has "done an excellent job responding to one of the most significant financial crises our country has ever encountered."

They added, "Based on our discussions with our colleagues, we are very confident that Chairman Bernanke will win confirmation by the Senate for a second term."

Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, said that it was "understandable" why there has been "debate, questioning and even anger" over Bernanke's nomination.

"Still, out of this near calamity, I believe Chairman Bernanke provided leadership that was urgent, nimble, strong, and vital in staving off greater disaster," he said in a written statement.

"He has worked effectively to bring stability back to the market place. It is with that in mind that I will vote to reconfirm Ben Bernanke."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said he plans to soon meet with Bernanke. "We need his steady hand as we build our economy and create new jobs across America," he said in a written statement.

"But as I meet with Chairman Bernanke before the vote, I will continue to demand that the Federal Reserve make a commitment to transparency and accountability in its policies."

When Bernanke was confirmed for his first term in 2006 under President George W. Bush, there was no opposition. The Senate approved his nomination by unanimous consent.

Federal Reserve chairmen serve four-year terms.

–CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.


Filed under: Ben Bernanke • President Obama
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. annie against biased news

    The criminals in dc just go on and on from the top bo all the way thru the demon-crat party.

    January 23, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    Different subject,
    I am reading a lot of sour remarks by liberals accusing Massachusetts voters of denying healthcare to America, while they enjoy theirs. The problem with these remarks is they fail to mention the fact that Massachusetts DID NOT depend on the federal government for healthcare. They enacted their heathcare as a STATE! How well it's working, I have no clue! Can someone from Massachusetts, please let us know! The primary point is they did not wait for the federal government to move. They did it themselves! Everyone else appears to want to be spoon fed!

    January 23, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. Jon Skillings

    Anyone supported by the infamous Chris Dodd, a well-known 2nd generation crook, should not be trusted to run a lemonade stand, much less the Fed.

    January 23, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. Michael from Ventura

    I'm with Barbara Boxer on this one-

    January 23, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  5. Sue

    Get rid of Bernake – and the Lobbyists that Obama PRETENDED he was not employing. Emmanual, Guenther – ALL of them! And do let the door hit him on HIS way out!!!

    January 23, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Personally, I think they should veto Bernanke and give the job to Ron Paul. Can you be a Congressman and chairman of the Fed at the same time?

    January 23, 2010 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  7. Marl Corgan

    Let us that live in Massachusetts vote on Bernanke. He will be history like a lot of others in the current administration soon will be. NO TO SOCIALISM. NOBAMA.

    January 23, 2010 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  8. valwayne

    Can you imagine the reaction of the financial markets if Bernanke goes away and Obama and the Democrats move forward with some semi-marxist income redistributionist?

    January 23, 2010 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  9. Ken in NC

    I'm the Senator from "MY STREET, USA" and while President Obama didn't call to ask me if Chairman Bernanke should stay, I cast my vote to send him on his way. Give this man a tin cup and cane. Let him walk the streets as we do in search of help and feeling our pain.

    He and other Fat Cats took our money to save his Wall Street friends. It will not be long before they'll find themselves needing to do it again so send him now I say. Send him out, send him out and send him far away. Leave open the door through which he passes to the hot desert sands for his Fat Cat friends will seek him out again. Let them seek him only to find that on that day, of our hard earned money, they'll get not nary another dime.

    January 24, 2010 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    The appalling thing about this is that a republican first made technical means to stop the vote in August 2009 and then got others to come out as well.
    Then some democrats get into deep discussion which is effectively that they don't like him because he was initially a Republican appointed nominee.
    The real big sick joke about several kinds of modern unique diseases the American political system has caught ( a lot) is that when a new government is appointed and its president ( appointed by majority vote,how come his nominess cannot be appointed to thier jobs by a simple majority? Captainless ships are not good and the republicans have delayed so many of these, for what purpose one has to ask?
    Get the vote done, the Republicans wont kick him out!! because the alternative is a full blown democratic leaning noominee.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    January 24, 2010 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  11. Nea

    All i know is We Have to do something about this healthcare issue in this country by voting in a candidate because he opposes HealthCare is not helping anything and thats exactly why i believe Scott Brown was vote in as senator because before he even got elected he said he was going to filabuster the Democrat Health Care bill. But in the meantime while they are playing polictics on how to kill a healthcare bill my Health Insurance on my job just went up so thanks a lot Republicans and Democrats who opposes Health Care Reform im sure you donot have anything to wory about you pay low premiums and get good health care.

    January 24, 2010 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  12. Preston k

    Pkm mr obama lets see who has the guts to vote with you and i mean both parites

    January 24, 2010 06:30 am at 6:30 am |