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ANOTHER SIDE-EFFECT OF MASSACHUSETTS VOTE: BERNANKE RE-APPOINTMENT IN TROUBLE?


 

According to Jennifer Liberto at CNNMoney.com Ben Bernanke's re-appointment as Fed Chair is now in trouble.

finance.yahoo.com/news/Bernankes-confirm...


Liberto writes:  

With only a week left before Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's term ends, the Senate lacks the 60 votes to force a confirmation vote.

And the White House and Senate leaders are starting to scramble, as more Democratic senators say they plan to vote against giving Bernanke a second term as Fed chief.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. and Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., both said Friday that they plan to vote against Bernanke. Several other Democratic senators told CNN they're undecided.

"It is time for a change -- it is time for Main Street to have a champion at the Fed," Boxer said in a statement. "Dr. Bernanke played a lead role in crafting the Bush administration's economic policies, which led to the current economic crisis. Our next Federal Reserve Chairman must represent a clean break from the failed policies of the past."

It's not clear whether Bernanke's confirmation is in jeopardy, because he is likely to garner some Republican support. In the Senate Banking Committee, four Republicans voted to confirm Bernanke, crediting him for saving the economy from a second Great Depression.

Senate Republicans were also trying to figure out on Friday who would be supporting and opposing Bernanke's confirmation

But the Senate can't even start the process of considering Bernanke until 60 senators sign off, because a few senators who oppose his confirmation filed official "holds" delaying the process.

"The math to 60 -- at this point -- looks bad for Bernanke," wrote Chris Krueger, an analyst for Concept Capital Washington Research Group in a report. "Chaos is reigning on the Hill right now and Democratic members are in severe anxiety over their own re-elections."

Some are really starting to wonder whether Bernanke will be confirmed before Feb. 1. If the vote is delayed, there's a question as to whether Bernanke can be temporarily re-appointed as acting chair. If not, Fed Vice Chair Donald Kohn would serve as acting chairman.

Senate leaders were unsure Friday how the votes were going to play out or when they'd start the procedure to force a vote.

Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a statement late Friday saying he'd support Bernanke, but "my support is not unconditional."

The White House is also getting involved, although spokesman Bill Burton declined to "engage in hypotheticals" about whether the president believed Bernanke's confirmation was in trouble.

"He continues to think that he's the best person for the job, and will be confirmed by the United States Senate," Burton said to reporters earlier Friday on Air Force One. "But of course people on the White House staff and around the President continue to work to get that done."

Bernanke has always had his critics in the Senate. Bernie Sanders, a left-leaning independent from Vermont who often votes with the Democrats, and Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Sanders' political opposite, are two of the most vocal.

Up until Tuesday, insiders believed that Bernanke had locked up more than 60 votes necessary to break a Senate filibuster. In December, he won solid support from the Senate Banking committee.

However, the political landscape changed when Republican Scott Brown won the special election to fill the Massachusetts vacancy in the Senate, once considered a Democratic stronghold.
 

More good news I guess.  Geithner and Bernanke are both on the way out it seems.