ELYRIA, Ohio — President Barack Obama believes Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will win a second term, a spokesman said today, despite Senate concerns over steps the central bank will take to create jobs.
Deputy press secretary Bill Burton said Obama has “a great deal of confidence” in the actions Bernanke already has taken and believes he is “the best person for the job.” The spokesman said the White House believes Bernanke will win another term as chairman.
Burton spoke to reporters traveling with Obama to Ohio for a series of appearances focused on the economy and job creation.
Although Bernanke, 56, should have enough votes in the Senate to win a second term, some lawmakers have lined up against him. They blame him for not seeing the problems that led to the financial crisis, failing to protect consumers and supporting Wall Street bailouts.
So dissatisfied by the bailouts, Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent liberal from Vermont, wants to block Bernanke’s confirmation with a filibuster on the Senate floor. He has placed a “hold” on the nomination, meaning it will require a super-majority of 60 votes to confirm Bernanke. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., also has said he opposes giving Bernanke a second term.
When the full Senate took up Bernanke’s nomination to be Fed chief four years ago, only one senator — Bunning — opposed him.
Burton said the White House is working to get Bernanke confirmed and there’s no backup plan. Some senators have said they want more information supporting Bernanke, a holdover from Republican President George W. Bush.
Opposition to a second term for Bernanke was coming from Democrats, too.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a statement Friday that “it is time for a change.”
“Our next Federal Reserve chairman must represent a clean break from the failed policies of the past,” she said.
Bernanke’s term expires on Jan. 31. A date for a Senate vote on his renomination has not been set.
Bernanke and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., met Thursday to discuss ways to strengthen the economy, encourage more lending by banks and curb home foreclosures.