Big vote on Bernanke confirmation is set

bernanke_091203.gi.top.jpgBy Jennifer Liberto, senior writer


WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- The confirmation drama surrounding Ben Bernanke is coming to a showdown.

The Senate has scheduled a vote on Thursday to clear hurdles that stand between the Federal Reserve chairman and a second term.

The procedural move requires 60 votes and will depend on Republicans, because several Democrats have said they will vote no. The vote could effectively clear Bernanke for confirmation, although a second vote requiring only 51 votes would be taken later in the week.

Bernanke's term ends on Sunday.

The mere fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has scheduled a cloture vote means that he believes he has secured 60 votes for Bernanke after heavy lobbying by Democratic leaders and the Obama administration.

"During the darkest days, this man and his leadership stepped in," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said this week after meeting with Bernanke, who acknowledged to senators that he had made some mistakes. "He stepped in and made some decisions that saved us. We have to acknowledge the fact that we have made progress."

Although President Obama announced five months ago that he wanted to re-appoint Bernanke to a second term, the Senate has dawdled on the confirmation vote until the last minute.

Voter frustration has been growing against Washington. Lawmakers are accused of doing a better job getting Wall Street back on its feet than Main Street. And Bernanke is largely seen as a symbol of Wall Street, even though many credit him for saving the economy from falling into a second Great Depression.

Democratic leaders and White House officials have expressed cautious optimism they have the votes they need, as part of a deal negotiated on separate legislation that would raise the debt ceiling.

If Bernanke is not re-appointed by Sunday, he would retain his position on the Fed's Board of Governors. He would also likely be elected by his colleagues on the board to continue running the Federal Open Market Committee, which controls monetary policy and meets today

However, a question remains about who would run the Fed. It would be either Bernanke, in an acting capacity, or Vice Chairman Donald Kohn. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play

Search for Jobs

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,132.70 -81.72 -0.45%
Nasdaq 4,963.53 -24.36 -0.49%
S&P 500 2,104.50 -6.24 -0.30%
Treasuries 2.00 -0.01 -0.69%
Data as of 8:00am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 128.46 -1.96 -1.50%
Microsoft Corp 43.85 -0.20 -0.47%
Facebook Inc 78.97 -1.44 -1.79%
Cisco Systems Inc 29.51 -0.40 -1.34%
Intel Corp 33.25 -0.40 -1.19%
Data as of Feb 27
Sponsors

Sections

Bus drivers for Apple, Yahoo, Amtrak, eBay, Genentech and Zynga have unionized, following in the footsteps of drivers who shuttle Facebook employees. More

The specter of deflation has settled over vast tracks of the global economy, forcing large and small countries alike to examine the cost of falling prices. More

A recent study found that heavy Facebook users can experience envy, which can lead to depression. More

The top 5 consumer complaints have to do with identity theft, debt collectors, imposters, telephone companies and banks. More