January 24th, 2010
03:58 PM ET
13 years ago

Shelby gets 'The Last Word'

Washington (CNN) – Weighing in on a number of national political and economic issues, outspoken Republican Sen. Richard Shelby got ‘The Last Word’ Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

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.

“Whatever happens, will happen,” Shelby, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “I don’t’ believe any sell-off would last very long because if [Bernanke] goes down, the president would have to and would come up with somebody that I believe would be stronger.”

“Most sell-offs are short-lived and then you have a rally,” Shelby also said Sunday. “So let’s don’t buy into that. Let’s buy into the record of Ben Bernanke. It’s not a good one,” the Alabama Republican told King.

Shelby also said Sunday that he opposes a tax on some of the nation’s largest banks that was recently proposed by President Obama as a way to recover projected losses from the financial bailout program also known as Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”).

“I think the tax is wrong,” Shelby said. The Republican senator pointed out that many of the banks that would pay the new tax have already repaid the TARP funds loaned to them by the federal government while other companies including A.I.G. and some of the automakers who have not repaid their TARP loans would not be taxed under Obama’s proposal.

“I don’t want to tax anybody. I think it takes money out of the economy. And if you tax banks – over do it – this economy is never going to recover because they’re not going to make loans.”

Shelby also came out against a bipartisan commission under consideration in Congress that would make recommendations on how to reduce the national debt. A statutory proposal, which only recently won President Obama’s support, would charge a bipartisan group with making recommendation which the Congress would then be able to accept or reject wholesale without making any changes.

“John, I wouldn’t support a commission like that,” Shelby told King. “I believe basically it’s a cover for more taxes and a few cuts. We’ve been down this road before. But if it were just to look at cuts, I would support a commission because a commission could help us that way.”

Shelby, who switched from the Democratic Party after Republicans took control of Congress in the 1994 midterms, also had encouraging words for any of his colleagues on Capitol Hill who might be considering leaving Democratic ranks.

“I tell them that, all the time, I think it’s just a question [of ] would you feel more comfortable more so with the Republicans or the Democrats. And would you fit in? And, if you do, we’ve got a place for you,” Shelby said Sunday.

Calling Republican Scott Brown’s upset win in Massachusetts a repudiation of the president’s ambitious plans for health care reform, Shelby also took a parting shot at the phrase “change you can believe in,” one of Obama’s trademark 2008 campaign slogans.

“I hope the president, and I hope a lot of my Democratic friends, have gotten the message that the American people, they like change but gradual change. Not change they can’t handle, change the don’t understand, and change that’s not needed.”

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. johnrj08

    Shelby used to be a smart guy. But he has sold his soul to the ideologues of his party.

    January 24, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    It's interesting to hear Sen. Shelby's take now, when he was part and parcel of the last administration's free for all in deregulation and spending, even hiding the amount for the Iraq war by not including it in the budget. It would be interesting to see how he voted for Bernanke the last time around. And it's amazing what short term memories we all have.

    January 24, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Doraine Gordon

    This hateful old man is against everything whether it benefits the country or not. It is time for him to take his spiteful old self home and stay there. And take those other old white haired guys with you. We need some new young blood in Washington. Young guys with new ideas. These old sticks in the mud are outdated and out of touch with America. Kick them out!!

    January 24, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. doug marcus sewell, nj

    most of those ugly written adjustable arms were written under the prior fed.

    January 24, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Dean

    Bernanke has done more to destroy the U S dollar than any person in our history. He should go.

    January 24, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    The look on this mans face says it all.The hatred just oozes from his pours when hes speaking. Shelby should be wearing a hood and robe.He would pull the plug on his own gramma himself for an extra dollar and a GOP victory.Its a shame the south is still in the civl war and pro slavery mode.Glad im white,but then again,it wont matter to him.

    January 24, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Nea

    I dont give a care what he did in the past if Ben Bernanke is qualified enough and if he can get the job done then to me he should be confirmed. President Obama will still be taking a chance if he elected someone else to do the job, i dont know everything but it sounds to me these Republicans dont want this country to get back on track, not right now while President Obama is President anyway they are the real Problem. Notice: they are the ones making the most noise but they dont have a real solution that will work.

    January 24, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. Ancient One

    Yea, we've seen what young and inexperienced gets you, trillions in debt from programs that did not work, and they are still trying tp pass this green crap, that will also cost billions and won't work. But watch out, now they are talking about raising taxes to pay for the ideas they had that didn't work. All of a sudden the big spenders are worried about money, what a joke.

    January 24, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. mike in tx

    Nothing Odumbo has done or wants to do is to benefit the country. It's only being done to help more socialists and Mao lovers get elected under false colors. We need a true Democratic Party. Not one run by west coast enviro nuts and east coast elitists. Progressives need to be destroyed.

    January 24, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    Sorry, if this loss in MA is a "referendum" against the Dem agenda then the NY23 win for a Dem in a con district, since the invention of the light bulb, was a "referendum" against the con agenda.

    Some seem to have forgotten that loss.

    1 million people out of 125 million voters in NOT a "referendum" on any agenda, unless the cable bobble-heads and their drama queens, along with the teabaggers call it a "referendum" for high drama.

    And ad revenues.

    January 24, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    As one blogger said, there should be only 2 term limits for all politicians; one in office and the other in prison. Personally I'm sick and tired of all the fighting, hating and ugliness that goes on in Washington when these people are suppose to be working for us, but no they are only concerned about getting re-elected. If there was any so-called religion in these people I don't see it as such, I see Washington as no more than the Devil's workshop.

    January 24, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. gr

    Calling Republican Scott Brown’s upset win in Massachusetts a repudiation of the president’s ambitious plans for health care reform, Shelby also took a parting shot at the phrase “change you can believe in,” one of Obama’s trademark 2008 campaign slogans.

    I can not wait until Scott Brown prove the all the independents that voted for him that they voted for another Republicans not an independent like they got fooled to believe. Scott Brown is no independent he is a REPUBLICAN and vote, talk, and walk like them. Some of these independent voters are going to be real bad for this country with their wishes and waches voting.

    January 24, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. Paul

    The Federal Reserve is the most illegitimate institution to have ever existed. Ben Bernanke belongs nowhere but prison.

    January 24, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. joe smith

    moreover, instead of automatically porking the economy, ( and that's what they have done ) just throwing good money after bad, begin to show the American people you are concerned; first, by demonstrating fiscal responsibility, and cut your own salarys by 20%..eliminate perks, or drastically reduce them..there is still so much waste, and duplicity in these government agencies is status quo.and must stop now..if the inside the beltway boys and girls think all will pass, yes it will, a new cast of characters will enter stage right..the Brown saga is just starting..the American people will demand results, something they have not done in a very long, maybe too long..

    January 24, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. unemployed by Obama

    Bernake is another Obama Crook and voting him out may be the right move for Democrates because if you vote him in, we the people can assure you that you will lose in 2010.

    January 24, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Louis

    Wasn't Senator Shelby part of loosing those regulations? Funny, when Bush was in office, all I can remember is the the Republicans saying things like, "get government off the back of the free market and America would prosper", or words to that effect. Now, after driving the economy of off the cliff, we now need more regulations. Which is it, Senator?

    The biggest problems with the voting public is that we have very short memories. Big Business got one of their own people in there controlling the money and American's monetary future. Hope they can do much, much better than they have before but I wouldn't hold my breath on that....

    January 24, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Joe C

    Say what you will about Shelby, but he's right about three things.

    1. Bernanke should not be re-confirmed, as he was part of the problem that created the crisis. There are stronger choices, including many who wouldn't savage the US dollar to prop financial markets. (Anyone, even I, can flood the markets with zero-cost, infinite liquidity. He needed a Princeton doctorate for that?)

    2. If the petulant financial markets react negatively to a Bernanke rejection, this, too, shall pass. It should NOT be a factor in a confirmation vote.

    3. The commission for fiscal reform which Obama just approved is dangerous. We need fiscal health, but must cut spending.

    Bernanke will be re-confirmed, despite my misgivings.

    Joe C

    January 24, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. MJ

    He needs to go. Nothing positive has come of his term. Government should stay out of the business sector. They have no experience and American Taxpayers are paying the price. We need someone who has true understanding of business principles and not just politcal goals.

    January 24, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |