Senate begins debate on Bernanke’s confirmation

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WASHINGTON — The Senate started on Thursday to debate Ben S. Bernanke’s confirmation to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, rendering a verdict on his leadership — and, indirectly, that of the Obama administration — during the financial crisis.

The Senate was expected to take a crucial vote on a motion by Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, to cut off debate. Democratic leaders believe they have the 60 votes needed to overcome a threatened filibuster, but they will need support from both parties, as opposition to Mr. Bernanke has emerged from the left and the right.

If the motion to end debate is passed, a second vote to confirm Mr. Bernanke, which requires only a simple majority, could also take place on Thursday. His four-year term as chairman expires on Sunday.

Full story: Senate Takes Up Bernanke’s Confirmation via