18 Dec 2009

Bernanke's nomination approved by Senate panel

8:30 am on 18 December 2009

Ben Bernanke's nomination to a second term as head of the US Federal Reserve has been approved by a Senate panel.

Members of the Senate Banking Committee voted 16 to seven to back Mr Bernanke as head of the bank.

The nomination will now proceed to the Senate floor for a full vote on his reconfirmation. The BBC reports Mr Bernanke is likely to be approved.

Under his tenure, the Fed has cut interest rates close to zero, as well as spending $US3 trillion to buoy the financial markets.

It also handled the collapse of Lehman Brothers and supervised the bail-out of the insurer AIG, which received a total of $US182.5 billion in government funding.

In partnership with the US Treasury, the Fed organised the $US700 billion bank bail-out plan in October 2008.

Mr Bernanke was named as head of the Fed by President George Bush, in 2005.