President Obama believes his Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is the right man for the job, despite protest from some lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters that the president is confident Bernanke will be reconfirmed.
Bernanke served as Fed chief under President George W. Bush and was renominated to the post by President Obama. But some senators have held up the confirmation process because they blame Bernanke for contributing to the financial crisis and supporting Wall Street bailouts.
The White House has advised Bernanke to continue working the phones in an effort to garner support, acknowledging that Martha Coakley's loss in the Massachusetts Senate race has caused more lawmakers to posture against anyone involved in the financial meltdown. Democrats and republicans alike see Bernanke as the easiest target based on timing, as his term ends at the end of the month.
While only a handful of senators initially threatened to filibuster the nomination, the opposition has grown in the past week. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who met with Bernanke yesterday, has been lukewarm in expressing his own support and confidence in the chairman. Reid could move to shut down a bipartisan filibuster of Bernanke by filing cloture on the nomination as early as Friday, which would signal that there are enough votes for confirmation. But if that happens, it will be by a narrow margin.