Bernanke’s nomination approved

BEN Bernanke’s nomination to a second term as head of the US Federal Reserve was approved by a Senate panel yesterday despite fierce opposition from some lawmakers.

Members of the Senate Banking Committee voted 16 to seven in favour of Bernanke continuing in his role following a two-hour debate that was full of both praise for and criticism of the Fed chief.

Bernanke is now likely to be approved when the nomination proceeds to the Senate floor for a full vote, some time in January.

Six of the seven “no” votes came from Republicans with one Democrat also opposed to Bernanke’s second term.

Among them, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top-ranking Republican on the committee, said: “I strongly disapprove of some of the past deeds of the Federal Reserve while Ben Bernanke was a member and its chairman, and I lack confidence in what little planning for the future he has articulated.”

Many ordinary Americans have been disgusted by Wall Street bailouts and the handling of the financial crisis which had fed an unusually high level of opposition to Bernanke's nomination.

The nomination came a day after Bernanke was voted Time magazine’s Person of the Year and the Fed voted to keep interest rates on hold at 0.25 per cent.