Irked by the Federal Reserve's bailout of Wall Street, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said Wednesday that he will seek to block the Senate from confirming Ben Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the nation's central bank.
For now, the move isn't expected to derail Bernanke's confirmation, but it could slow down the process.
The maneuver by Sanders, an independent, comes on the eve of Bernanke's confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee.
"The American people are disgusted with the greed and recklessness of Wall Street .... People are asking why didn't the Fed intervene at the appropriate time to stop the casino-type activities of large financial companies," Sanders said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Lax oversight by the Fed as well as other banking regulators has been blamed for contributing to the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.
Sanders told the AP he placed a "hold" on Bernanke's nomination. The Senate would need to have 60 votes to override Sander's maneuver to move forward with a vote on the nomination. Bernanke probably has sufficient support to overcome that procedural hurdle.
President Barack Obama nominated Bernanke to a second, four-year term. That requires Senate approval. The Fed chief's term expires on Jan. 31.
Sanders said Bernanke should have done more to help struggling Americans, such as demanding that bailed-out banks cut interest rates on credit cards.
One of the biggest grievances of the public -- and their representatives in Congress -- is the government's bailout of Wall Street. The multibillion-dollar bailouts of American International Group and other financial firms that continued to hand out huge bonuses sparked fury. They've also fueled worries that the Fed's moves will encourage further reckless bets by companies in the future.
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