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Senator Moves to Slow Bernanke's Fed Confirmation


Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters in front of the West Wing of the White House in Washington after meeting with President Barack Obama. Irked by the Federal Reserve's bailout of Wall Street, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 that he will seek to block the Senate from confirming Ben Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the nation's central bank. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday
that he was placing a hold on Ben Bernanke's nomination for a second
term as Federal Reserve chairman, a move that could slow the
confirmation process.

If the hold is not withdrawn, the move by Sanders, an independent
from Vermont, means that Senate leaders will not be able to bring up
the nomination for a vote by unanimous consent. Instead, they may need
to garner 60 votes in order to consider the nomination.

In a statement, Sanders blasted Bernanke, whose current term expires
on January 31, for doing too little to help ordinary Americans, while
going too easy on big financial institutions.

"The American people want a new direction on Wall Street and at the
Fed. They do not want as chairman someone who has been part of the
problem and who has been responsible for many of the enormous
difficulties that we are now experiencing," Sanders said. "It's time
for him to go."

President Barack Obama
nominated the former Princeton University economics professor to
another term as central bank chief in August, praising his handling of
the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

Many lawmakers, however, are upset at the large-scale bailouts of
financial firms the Fed helped engineer. Many also accuse the Fed of
having failed to stem the risky lending practices that helped fuel the
financial crisis.

Bernanke is set to testify to the Senate Banking Committee on
Thursday. The panel would need to approve his nomination before sending
it before the full Senate for a final confirming vote.

With the Senate tied up with health-care reform, it may be difficult
to schedule any procedural votes on the nomination before year end.

Reporting by Tim Ahmann and Donna Smith; Editing by Leslie Adler

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