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.
(CNN) - Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, and Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire, said in a joint statement Saturday they are confident Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be confirmed by the Senate for a second term.
The statement by Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Gregg, who also serves on the committee, comes amid reports Bernanke's confirmation may be in doubt.
“In the last few days there have been a flurry of media reports on Chairman Bernanke’s confirmation prospects, highlighting a very vocal opposition. Chairman Bernanke has done an excellent job responding to one of the most significant financial crises our country has ever encountered. We support his nomination because he is the right leader to guide the Federal Reserve in this recovering economy. Based on our discussions with our colleagues, we are very confident that Chairman Bernanke will win confirmation by the Senate for a second term.”
Washington (CNN) - A second term for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke became more uncertain Friday as two leading liberal senators announced they would vote no, and many other Senate Democrats said they were undecided.
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, both issued statements announcing their opposition to Bernanke.
"Under the watch of Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve permitted grossly irresponsible financial activities that led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Under Chairman Bernanke's watch predatory mortgage lending flourished, and 'too big to fail' financial giants were permitted to engage in activities that put our nation's economy at risk," said Feingold.
Sen. Boxer said she's voting no because Bernanke "played a lead role in crafting the Bush administration's economic policies, which led to the current economic crisis."
"Our next Federal Reserve Chairman must represent a clean break from the failed policies of the past," she said.
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(CNN) - Time magazine announced Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as its 2009 "Person of the Year" Wednesday.
Bernanke will be featured on the cover of the magazine that hits stores Friday.
He beat out Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, President Barack Obama, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among other finalists.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday he's confident the Federal Reserve will make money on the trillions ithas pumped into the economy since the start of 2008.
"I think we're in very good shape," Bernanke said, answering questions following a speech at the Economic Club of Washington. "I do believe we're going to get back all the money, and indeed we'll be showing for the taxpayers fairly significant extra income."
Bernanke was referring specifically to Fed programs - not the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The U.S. Treasury will likely lose money on TARP, though the Obama administration is expected to announce soon that losses will be $200 billion less than initially expected.
The Fed has actually pumped far more money into the economy than Treasury did through TARP.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke got an endorsement from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd at the start of his confirmation hearing Thursday, even as Dodd called for a removal of some of the central banks current powers.
Dodd said Bernanke and the Fed deserved credit for the steps taken in the financial crisis of a year earlier to stop the economic crisis from becoming significantly worse than it did.
"I believe you are the right leader for this moment in the nation's economic history and it would send the right message to markets," Dodd said during his opening statement.
But the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, was far more critical of Bernanke in his opening statement, telling Bernanke "I fear now our trust and confidence (in the Federal Reserve) was misplaced." He did not say whether he would vote for or against confirmation, though.
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.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, just days ahead of his confirmation hearing, is warning Congress that actions limiting the central bank's independence could prove detrimental to the causes of financial reform and economic recovery.
In an op-ed piece to be published in Sunday's Washington Post, Bernanke criticizes two moves aimed at limiting the Fed - a proposal in the Senate to strip the central bank of its bank regulatory powers and a House Financial Services Committee vote to audit monetary policy deliberations and actions.
"These measures are very much out of step with the global consensus on the appropriate role of central banks, and they would seriously impair the prospects for economic and financial stability in the United States," Bernanke wrote.
Bernanke says the congressional moves are a byproduct of the public frustration over the financial crisis and the government's response, especially the bailout of large banks.
(CNN) - Despite word from the White House that "nobody is looking to make any news" this week, President Obama on Tuesday took a break from vacationing to announce his plans to nominate Ben Bernanke to a second term as head of the Federal Reserve.
"The man next to me, Ben Bernanke, has led the Fed through one of the worst financial crises that this nation and the world has ever faced," Obama said from Martha's Vineyard, a Massachusetts Island.
Obama made the announcement at Oak Bluffs Elementary School. A few dozen onlookers gathered outside the school to wave to the presidential motorcade as it arrived.
The president opened his remarks with an apology to reporters for "interrupting the relaxing I told you all to do."