After weeks of uncertainty, the Senate on Thursday voted 70 to 30 to confirm Ben Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. The final vote on his nomination immediately followed a procedural vote of 77-23 to end debate.
Bernanke, originally nominated by President Bush in 2006 to succeed Alan Greenspan, was renominated by President Obama in August. The weeks leading up to the Jan. 31 expiration of his first term proved tumultuous for the country’s head banker.
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) opposed Bernanke’s confirmation for months, and today said it was “a vote for bailouts.” Bernanke has come under fire in recent weeks for his role in the financial crisis, and specifically for endorsing a transfer of tax dollars to Wall Street.
Much of the criticism of Bernanke’s renomination, though, came from the left. Several prominent Democrats, including Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), came out in opposition to Bernanke, prompting the White House to spend last weekend making phone calls to rally support for the Fed chairman.
The chairman of the Federal Reserve presides over the central banking system of the United States and is appointed every four years by the president.