- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 24, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House officials and Senate leaders predicted on Sunday that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be confirmed for a second term.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said a new four-year term for the central bank head is needed to ensure stability in the financial system. Lawmakers would send a bad message to financial markets by “playing politics in any way” with Bernanke’s nomination, Gibbs said.

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had assured President Barack Obama that Bernanke had strong support among Democrats.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he anticipated that Bernanke would be confirmed and would receive bipartisan support. McConnell would not say how he would vote and how many Republicans would vote against a second term.

The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, added, “I think that we’re going to have the votes to make sure he is reconfirmed.”

Bernanke, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, is widely credited with helping to prevent the recession from turning into a depression. But his support of Wall Street bailouts has angered the public as the country struggles with double-digit unemployment and soaring home foreclosures.

Obama called Senate allies on Saturday to make his case for Bernanke, whose term ends Jan. 31. The Senate is scheduled to vote on Bernanke by week’s end.

Gibbs spoke on “Fox News Sunday” while Jarrett and McConnell appeared on NBC television’s “Meet the Press.” Durbin was on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

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