WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, whose reconfirmation has become surprisingly jeopardized, received a bipartisan boost Saturday from two key senators who reiterated their support for him and predicted he would win a second four-year term.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., and Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who also serves on the committee, took the unusual step of issuing a weekend statement on Bernanke’s behalf.
The move came a day after two Democratic senators, Barbara Boxer of California and Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, announced their opposition to Bernanke’s renomination as head of the central bank, fueling speculation that his confirmation could be scuttled.
“In the last few days there have been a flurry of media reports on Chairman Bernanke’s confirmation prospects, highlighting a very vocal opposition,” Dodd and Gregg said. “Chairman Bernanke has done an excellent job responding to one of the most significant financial crises our country has ever encountered.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced his support for Bernanke’s nomination Friday night, and the White House has reiterated its backing as well.
Dodd and Gregg were among those who voted in favor of Bernanke when the Senate Banking Committee approved his renomination by a 16-7 vote last month.
But the opposition to his nomination has been growing as the economy continues to struggle. Senators, particularly those facing re-election this year, also are concerned about voter anger about the role of the Fed in failing to prevent the deep recession and then in helping to engineer the bailouts of large financial companies.