The Washington Times - January 25, 2010, 07:34PM

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D - IL) spoke to reporters today about his support for reconfirming  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to a second term. Mr. Durbin made repeated reminders that the Senate Democratic caucus would have to find other ways to garner votes from Republicans, since the Democrats lost their super majority last week as a result of Senator-elect Scott Brown’s (R - MA) win in Massachusetts.:



“I don’t take anything for granted until the final vote and particularly when you need 60 votes, you’re hanging by the fingernails for a long, long  time, and I’m predictably certain that anything could happen, but I do believe that we’re  moving forward, and with Republican support, this nomination will be approved.”

Mr. Durbin quickly addressed concerns about Mr. Bernanke’s handling of the country’s woeful economic issues like the AIG meltdown, which both Senate Democrats and Republicans have cited as a reason for their own apprehension about Mr. Bernanke. The Federal Reserve Chairman has apparently assured Mr. Durbin that an investigation regarding the massive AIG bailout would be performed by an independent watchdog or the GAO. :

“He acknowledges, and I agree with him, that many of the problems we faced over the past few years are problems which pre-dated his service at the Federal Reserve and go back a decade or more. Having said that, he was at the Federal Reserve at the time when some decisions were made, as he acknowledges, he did not see at that time the long term negative impact— and neither did anyone else over at the Fed and very few people in our country saw it, so putting this all on his doorstep may be going a little too far.”

Still, losing a formerly Democratic Senate seat in Massachusetts last week has shaken up the caucus who think they need to prove something to frustrated voters. The Senator from Illinois  noted that, while some Senate Democrats are thinking of casting “protest” votes against Chairman Bernanke, Mr. Durbin stressed that there were other ways to show his party cares about the country’s dismal economic circumstances.

It is obvious Mr. Bernanke’s reconfirmation remains uncertain, and Democrats, still getting used to having 59 instead of 60 votes in the Senate, are strategizing more carefully. GOP votes are needed by the majority more than ever now.