Banking Panel Snipes at Bernanke, But Backs Him
The 16-7 vote reveals unease about Fed chairman
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2009 12:36 PM CST
Jim Bunning berates Ben Bernanke during a Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs executive session to vote on the Fed chairman's reappointment, Dec. 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – The Senate banking panel endorsed Ben Bernanke’s nomination for a second term atop the Fed, but it was hardly a slam dunk for Time’s new person of the year. The 16-7 vote was a far cry from his original, near-unanimous appointment, with only four of the committee’s 10 Republicans voting for him. Jim Bunning spent 20 minutes berating him, noting that past Time honorees have included Richard Nixon, Joseph Stalin, and Adolf Hitler.

Even Bernanke’s supporters expressed reservations, blaming him for being slow to prevent the financial critics, reports the Washington Post. It all portends an unusually contentious confirmation battle in the full Senate. Thanks to a procedural move from Bernie Sanders, Bernanke will need 60 votes—and need them fast. The Senate doesn’t return to session until Jan. 19, but if Bernanke isn’t confirmed by the 31st, the Fed’s vice chairman will take over as interim chairman, notes the New York Times.