After reports that his chance at a second term was in jeopardy, the Senate voted 70-30 on January 28 to confirm Ben Bernanke, 56, to a four-year term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board starting February 1.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) and Banking Committee Member Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) issued a joint statement expressing their confidence in Bernanke. "In the last few days there have been a flurry of media reports on Chairman Bernanke's confirmation prospects, highlighting a very vocal opposition," the two Senators said. "Chairman Bernanke has done an excellent job responding to one of the most significant financial crises our country has ever encountered. We support his nomination because he is the right leader to guide the Federal Reserve in this recovering economy."
In a separate statement after Bernanke's confirmation, Dodd said that over the last year, "the chairmanship of Ben Bernanke has in no small measure made it possible for this nation to avoid a catastrophe that I think would have loomed as large as the Great Depression - and maybe larger because of the global implications of the decisions that needed to be made." Had it not been for Bernanke as the Chair of the Federal Reserve, Dodd continued, "I think we would be looking at a very different America today."
Indeed Bernanke told the Senate during his confirmation that over the past two years, "our nation, indeed the world, has endured the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression, a crisis which in turn triggered a sharp contraction in global economic activity." Today, he continued, "most indicators suggest that financial markets are stabilizing and that the economy is emerging from the recession. Yet our task is far from complete. Far too many Americans are without jobs, and unemployment could remain high for some time even if, as we anticipate, moderate economic growth continues. The Federal Reserve remains committed to its mission to help restore prosperity and to stimulate job creation while preserving price stability. If I am confirmed, I will work to the utmost of my abilities in the pursuit of those objectives."