24 Jan 2010

Backing for Bernanke at Senate banking committee

10:57 am on 24 January 2010

Two members of the United States Senate Banking Committee say they are optimistic that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will win confirmation for a second term.

In a joint statement, committee chairman Senator Chris Dodd (Democrat) and Senator Judd Gregg (Republican) said that based on their discussions with their colleagues, they were very confident that Mr Bernanke will win the necessary approval from the Senate.

Mr Bernanke's confirmation suddenly appeared to be in jeopardy on Friday after two Senate Democrats announced they had joined a growing number of senators who had vowed to vote against his appointment.

Mr Bernanke's critics say the Fed failed to prevent the recent financial crisis and combated it in a way that favored banks and others in the financial industry at the expense of ordinary citizens.

However, Senators Dodd and Gregg said Mr Bernanke had done "an excellent job" responding to the financial crisis and they supported him because "he was "the right leader to guide the Federal Reserve in this recovering economy."

Mr Bernanke was appointed to the Fed as chairman by former President George Bush and was renominated by President Barack Obama last year. His current term expires on 31 January.