Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke won the backing of two important Democratic voices in the Senate Monday, as the White House appeared to stanch opposition to his nomination for another four-year term as head of the nation's central bank.
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California issued statements saying the answer to the financial crisis is stronger regulation, not replacing Bernanke.
"Facing circumstances not seen since the Great Depression, he made a number of critical decisions that brought us back from the brink of economic disaster," Baucus said.
Bipartisan opposition had been fueled by growing public anger over the economy in general and over bank bailouts in particular. Bernanke, working with the Bush administration and then with President Barack Obama, has expanded the Fed's balance sheet to help banks through the crisis, which peaked in the fall of 2008.
"To blame one man for the financial implosion is simply wrong," Feinstein said. "Ben Bernanke has been helpful to the recovery and, for reasons of stability and continuity, should be reconfirmed."
The announcements Monday, combined with others over the weekend, signaled an end to an apparent erosion of support for Bernanke in the Senate. White House officials and Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate voiced optimism Sunday that Bernanke would be confirmed.
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