Bernanke faces Senate opposition

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke faced mounting Senate opposition for another four-year term Friday, even as the White House described President Barack Obama as confident about his confirmation.

Sen. Barbara Boxer of California announced she’ll vote against Bernanke, adding another Democrat to the ranks of those arrayed against Bernanke. “It is time for a change — it is time for Main Street to have a champion at the Fed,” she said.

Democratic Sens. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Bryon Dorgan of North Dakota also said they’ll oppose Bernanke on the Senate floor. Feingold faults Bernanke for missing a high-risk culture at financial companies that led to a near economic meltdown late last year. Dorgan also is upset that the Fed has kept secret the identities of firms that drew emergency loans from the Fed.

Deputy press secretary Bill Burton, talking to reporters as Obama headed to Ohio on Friday, said the president has “a great deal of confidence” in the actions Bernanke already has taken and believes he’s “the best person for the job.”

Burton said the White House still believes that Bernanke, 56, will get enough votes in the Senate to run the nation’s central bank for another four years.

But the political waters are getting rougher for Bernanke, and the Senate confirmation vote may be much tighter than many had anticipated just a few a month ago.

A time for a vote still hasn’t been set. Officials at one time had hoped that it would come this week. Bernanke’s term expires on Jan. 31.