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SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE APPROVES BERNANKE

December 17, 2009

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate Banking Committee approved the nomination of Ben Bernanke to continue as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on a vote of 16 to 7. 
 
President Obama announced Bernanke’s reappointment on August 25th.  The nomination will now be sent to the full Senate for consideration.   
 
 “As I have said, I will vote to pass that nomination out of this committee and to the full Senate,” said Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.  “Some of the criticisms of the Fed under Chairman Bernanke that have been voiced during this confirmation process have merit.”
 
“As I said at our last meeting on this topic, leading up to the crisis the Fed failed in its oversight and consumer protection responsibilities, allowing some of the largest holding companies to engage in very dangerous risk-taking and allowing much of the damage caused by those actions to fall on ordinary Americans.  This was reflected in lost jobs, lost homes, lost retirement, and a lost sense of hope that many have felt that you can’t put a dollar sign on but that has affected our country and our citizenry very profoundly.”
 
“However, I believe that Chairman Bernanke must also receive credit for the critical role he played in the events of last fall.  And while the judgment of many is still out on that, I happen to believe that had he and others not acted at a time of critical importance to our country we would be looking at a far more dire situation than is the case.”
 
The Committee also approved three other nominees including Eric Hirschhorn, to be Undersecretary for Export Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; Marisa Lago, to be Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development U.S. Department of the Treasury; and Steven Jacques, to be Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
 
Testimony and webcast will be available at:
 
Below is the Chairman’s statement as prepared for delivery:
 
 “Today, we meet to vote on the nomination of Ben Bernanke for another term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  As I have said, I will vote to pass that nomination out of this committee and to the full Senate.”
 
“Some of the criticisms of the Fed under Chairman Bernanke that have been voiced during this confirmation process have merit.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that.”
 
“As I said at our last meeting on this topic, leading up to the crisis the Fed failed in its oversight and consumer protection responsibilities, allowing some of the largest holding companies to engage in very dangerous risk-taking and allowing much of the damage caused by those actions to fall on ordinary Americans.  This was reflected in lost jobs, lost homes, lost retirement, and a lost sense of hope that many have felt that you can’t put a dollar sign on but that has affected our country and our citizenry very profoundly.”
 
“However, I believe that Chairman Bernanke must also receive credit for the critical role he played in the events of last fall.  And while the judgment of many is still out on that, I happen to believe that had he and others not acted at a time of critical importance to our country we would be looking at a far more dire situation than is the case.”
 
“I believe that Ben Bernanke deserves substantial credit, as chairman of the Federal Reserve, for helping us to navigate those waters.  Certainly not with perfection, but certainly stepping up during a critical time in our nation’s history with wise leadership that benefited our nation.”
 
“The Federal Reserve took extraordinary actions to arrest this crisis and prevent utter economic catastrophe.  And because he did what he did, I believe there is reason to believe that better days lie ahead for our country.”
 
“Therefore, I strongly support this nomination. But I want to be clear that with my support comes my insistence that we carefully examine the role of an institution that runs the risk of becoming too complicated to succeed.  And we are deeply involved in that debate as we move forward on our financial reform effort.”
 
“It has been proposed that the Fed assume an additional important role in identifying and controlling threats to overall financial stability.  But the Fed is already charged with determining monetary policy, acting as the lender of last resort, supervising some state banks and all bank holding companies, and serving as the principal architect of consumer protection regulations for financial products and services.”
 
“I fear that the more responsibilities we pile on the Fed’s plate, the more hamstrung the Fed will be in taking the very kinds of actions that helped to save our economy from catastrophe.”
 
“I have outlined my proposals to maintain the Fed’s access to critical information, and, most importantly, its independence – I can’t stress that last point strongly enough.”
 
“Although Chairman Bernanke and I may disagree on the particulars of my plan, I know that we share a common commitment to a strong central bank and a strong American economy.  I look forward to working with him in the months ahead.  And I thank him for his service to our nation.”
 
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December 2009 Majority Press Releases

December 23rd DODD AND SHELBY ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT ON THE PROGRESS OF FINANCIAL REFORM
  Current record
December 14th DODD STATEMENT ON CITIBANK REPAYING TARP FUNDS
December 11th DODD APPLAUDS FEINBERG CAP ON EXECUTIVE PAY FOR TARP RECIPIENTS
December 8th DODD, MENENDEZ APPLAUD ADMINISTRATION’S TRANSIT SAFETY PLAN, WILL PUSH FOR TRANSIT INVESTMENTS IN NEW JOBS BILL
December 3rd DODD SUPPORTS BERNANKE’S CONFIRMATION