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Deadline Fast Approaching to Confirm Bernanke’s Second Term

While the ""Senate Banking Committee"":http://banking.senate.gov/public/ voted to back Ben Bernanke's second term as ""Federal Reserve"":http://www.federalreserve.gov/ chairman in December, the ""Senate"":http://www.senate.gov/ as a whole must vote on this issue before January 31, and some are worried this looming deadline won't be met.


As DSNews.com reported, Bernanke was selected as TIME magazine's Person of the Year 2009 for his role in steering the country through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Whether he will be able to continue his role in the Fed, though, remains unknown.

According to a recent ""article by CNN.com"":http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/18/news/economy/Bernanke_confirmation/index.htm, ""Nobody's really worried that Bernanke will lose his seat. But there is a chance the Senate won't vote before his term expires.""

If the Senate fails to meet this deadline, a new plan must be put into action. According to CNN.com's article, if the confirmation is delayed, Senate staffers believe Bernake will need to temporarily step down as chairman, and Donald Kohn, the vice chairman, should serve as acting chairman. Others, though, believe a temporary extension should be allowed.

Amid the Senate's already packed calendar, Harry Reid, senate majority leader, is working on an agreement to


bring the vote up on the floor, but a vote has yet to be scheduled, a recent ""article on Thehill.com"":http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/76563-bernankes-term-running-out-as-senate-dems-try-to-schedule-vote said.

The hold up? Several senators, including Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Jim Bunnin (R-Kentucky), and Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) have placed holds on the vote, Thehill.com said in its article. However, according to the article on CNN.com, insiders say Bernanke has secured more than the 60 votes necessary to break a Senate filibuster.

Still, as days tick by with no vote, the chances of passing the deadline are increasing. Even in the case of a filibuster, time is of the essence. According to Senate rules, it takes at least a few days to complete the process of cutting off a filibuster, and the following final debate can take up to 30 hours.

While the law that created the Federal Reserve has rules regarding a succession, there is no clear-cut answer to a missed deadline for reconfirmation. According to the law, in the absence of a chairman, the vice chairman shall preside. However, this seems to be for situations when the residing chairman is unable to attend a meeting.

Not meeting the voting deadline has happened two other times in the Fed's history. The reconfirmation of Marriner Eccles, Fed chief, was delayed in 1948, and Alan Greenspan's reconfirmation to the Fed board was overdue in 1996. However, in both of these instances, there was no vice chairman to take the position, but in Bernanke's case, there is.

According to CNN.com's article, Chris Dodd, Senate Banking Committee chairman, is urging Senate representatives to move quickly on the confirmation process. Bernanke will not be able to serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board if the process is not complete, Dodd said.

About Author: Brittany Dunn


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