Washington (CNNMoney.com) - Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made his strongest case yet to Congress on Wednesday for the Federal Reserve keeping its regulatory oversight powers over banks large and small.
Bernanke told the House Financial Services panel said he's "quite concerned" about proposals to limit the Federal Reserve's regulatory power to watching out for only the biggest banks. He called the proposal a "bad idea."
"It makes us the 'too big to fail' regulator, and we don't want that responsibility," Bernanke said. "We need a connection to Main Street, as well as Wall Street."
Bernanke said the Fed, alone, has the infrastructure and expertise to keep a close eye on big banks as well as regional and community banks. He suggested that losing the ability to monitor smaller banks would impact the Fed's role in stabilizing the economy.
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke unveiled a blueprint Wednesday for pulling back the trillions of dollars the central bank has provided to prop up the nation's economy.
"These programs, which imposed no cost on the taxpayer, were a critical part of the government's efforts to stabilize the financial system and restart the flow of credit," Bernanke said in prepared testimony for a Capitol Hill hearing that was postponed due to snow. "As financial conditions have improved, the Federal Reserve has substantially phased out these lending programs."
But Bernanke also emphasized that the U.S. economy still needs the support of easy money policies. He said that "at some point" in the future the Fed will "need to tighten financial conditions" by raising short-term interest rates and reversing programs that pumped liquidity into the markets.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was confirmed for a second term Thursday by the U.S. Senate.
The final confirmation vote was 70-30. Minutes earlier, more than enough senators, 77, voted to end a filibuster on the nomination in a procedural move that required 60 votes.
The vote, which occurred just three days before Bernanke's first term was scheduled to end, came after heavy lobbying by Democratic leaders and the Obama administration. President Obama, himself, made calls last weekend. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., lobbied Republicans to make sure he had enough votes.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - The confirmation drama surrounding Ben Bernanke is coming to a showdown.
The Senate has scheduled a vote on Thursday to clear hurdles that stand between the Federal Reserve chairman and a second term.
The procedural move requires 60 votes and will depend on Republicans, because several Democrats have said they will vote no. The vote could effectively clear Bernanke for confirmation, although a second vote requiring only 51 votes would be taken later in the week.
Bernanke's term ends on Sunday.
Washington (CNN) - The Senate will vote Thursday on whether to give Ben Bernanke a second term as Federal Reserve chairman, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's spokesman.
Jim Manley, the spokesman for Reid, said Tuesday that Senate leaders reached agreement on holding the Bernanke vote on Thursday morning in addition to a vote on raising the federal debt ceiling.
Democratic leaders and White House officials say they expect to muster the 60 votes necessary to overcome opposition to confirming Bernanke for a second term.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Ben Bernanke watch: 6 days and counting.
The Federal Reserve chairman's term ends on Sunday, and Washington is abuzz with speculation about whether the Senate will reconfirm him.
The Obama administration is confident that he has the 60 votes he needs to get Bernanke another term.
"We need his leadership," White House adviser David Axelrod told CNN on Sunday. "And the president is very confident that the chairman will be confirmed."
Obama phoned senators over the weekend to "check in" a White House official told CNN. And Senate leaders also scrambled to see where the votes are. Bernanke is expected to spend part of Monday talking to senators on Capitol Hill.
Until last week, Bernanke's confirmation had been viewed as a sure thing.
This week’s Sunday conversation included a feisty debate about the Massachusetts Message and its lasting political power, much of it in the context of just what tone President Obama should take – and what issues he should put front and center – when he delivers his State of the Union Address midweek.
“You will hear in the State of the Union his ideas about additional steps that we can take to help create jobs and stir hiring across the country,” senior presidential adviser David Axelrod told us.
“What happened in Massachusetts is just part of an American awakening,” was conservative Sen. Jim DeMint’s take.
Other pocketbook issues in play:
Asked about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who has been nominated by President Obama for a second term heading the nation’s central bank, Shelby said, “I believe if you look at his record objectively, you shouldn’t vote for him.”
“I believe the Federal Reserve is part and parcel of the whole problem [that led to the recent financial crisis], that helped create the problem – loose money and too little regulation Now they want to ride to the rescue with the taxpayers’ money. I believe that is not a good record by the Fed, led by Ben Bernanke. I intend to vote against him.”
Asked whether not confirming Bernanke could spook already shaky financial markets, Shelby brushed aside the suggestion that protecting the markets is a reason to back Bernanke.
Washington (CNN) – As the White House tries to rally wavering support for the re-confirmation of Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke, two senators – one Democrat and one Republican – announced Sunday that they will support the nation’s top banker despite reservations about him.
President Obama has nominated Bernanke for a second term as the head of the nation’s central bank but Bernanke’s confirmation has become ensnared in concerns about his role in the financial crisis that began in late 2008 and nearly pushed the economy into freefall. Bernanke’s nomination has also been tripped up in recent days by growing populist accusations that the Obama administration bailed out Wall Street and the automotive industry while doing too little to create jobs as the official unemployment rate remains stubbornly at 10 percent.
New Jersey Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union that he’s had concerns about Bernanke regarding “consumer protection, of being ahead of the curve on the economy and particularly on mortgage foreclosures.”
“I think [Bernanke’s] learned from those lessons,” Menedez told also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “I give him credit for making some significant moves to – along with President Obama – from stopping us from going into a deep depression. So, yes, I will support Chairman Bernanke and I believe that his confirmation will be assured.”
Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also told King that he will support Bernanke, though Hatch’s pledge of support was far from a ringing endorsement of the embattled Fed chief.
"We need his leadership, and the president is very confident that the chairman will be confirmed," David Axelrod said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Axelrod praised Bernanke's "very strong and steady leadership" during the economic crisis that began in 2008, saying without it, the nation's economy may have "slipped into the abyss."
However, some members of the Senate Democratic caucus, led by independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, said last week they would oppose Bernanke's confirmation for a second term.