Posted on 28 Jan 2010
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke faces a key vote in the Senate Thursday to win a second term at the helm of the U.S. central bank.
Debate on the Fed chief's nomination could start as early as noon, with a crucial procedural vote expected in the afternoon. A final vote could also take place Thursday.
Mr. Bernanke needs 60 votes to overcome a potential filibuster in the procedural vote. The final vote would require only a majority for the Fed chairman to be confirmed again.
The Fed chairman is now only seven votes shy of the 60 needed to overcome the procedural vote. According to a poll of senators conducted by Dow Jones Newswires, 53 lawmakers will vote for Mr. Bernanke, 20 will vote no and a further 27 are either undecided or haven't responded to the poll.
The top Republican on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee said Wednesday he would vote to confirm Mr. Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, becoming the 53rd lawmaker to publicly declare support for Mr. Bernanke.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) said that his support for Mr. Bernanke is due to a reluctance to create uncertainty in financial markets. According to a Cochran aide, the senator believes Mr. Bernanke's reappointment "would help bring stability to the markets and establish a comfort zone for those who might be uncertain about the effect a new person might have on the economic environment."
In an interview with the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Mr. Cochran offered a ringing endorsement of Mr. Bernanke for the position.
"I think he's the best person--I can't think of anybody better," Mr. Cochran said.