After considerable arm twisting by the White House, the Senate today confirmed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke for a second term as head of the nation's central bank.
The final vote was 70-30 and he received the most votes in opposition of any nominee to the Fed's top job. His current four-year term ends on Sunday.
Senators of both parties expressed opposition to his being reconfirmed because they complained about the role he and the Fed played during the recent financial crisis. And several senators had placed a hold on his confirmation, which meant that a supermajority of 60 votes was needed to end debate. Earlier today, the Senate voted 77-23 to end debate on his nomination.
Key members of the Obama administration lobbied hard on behalf of Bernanke. According to several media reports, some of the initiatives proposed in the State of the Union speech-such as making more money available to community banks for business lending-were the result of suggestions made by senators who were wavering on whether to support Bernanke's confirmation.
Bernanke had been a member of the Federal Reserve Board as well as the chief economics adviser to former President George W. Bush before Bush nominated him to be chairman.
Before his government service, he was an economics professor at Princeton University and a scholar of the Great Depression. He has said his studies of that subject guided his policymaking during the economic crisis.