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Bernanke faces curbs on Fed's independence

Business Times - 02 Feb 2010


Bernanke faces curbs on Fed's independence

Confirmation for second term comes with political strings that may stymie policymaking

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

WITH supporters like this, who needs detractors?

Take, for instance, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, who said after announcing his intention to vote to approve the confirmation of Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman for a second term: 'I made it clear that to merit confirmation, Chairman Bernanke must redouble his effort to ensure families can access the credit they need to buy or keep their home, send their children to college and start business.'

Offering what sounded, at best, as a lukewarm endorsement of Mr Bernanke, Mr Reid added that Mr Bernanke 'assured me that he will soon outline plans for making that happen, and I eagerly await them'. Mr Reid, who had the task of mobilising the Senate votes to approve Mr Bernanke's re-nomination, seemed …