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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Banking committee votes 16-7 to reconfirm Bernanke

The Senate Banking committee voted 16-7 to reconfirm Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to a second four-year term, a closer-than-expected result meant to send a signal of displeasure to the Fed chairman's monetary policy.

Bernanke is widely expected to win reconfirmation -- don't change horses in the middle of a river, as they say -- but his bank bailouts and easy-money policies (turning on the dollar spigot and keeping interest rates near zero) have won enemies among those who think he's encouraging a second bubble. Those are chiefly Republicans, lead among them Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the 23-member committee's ranking member. The confirmation moves to a full Senate vote early next year.

Bernanke is also opposed by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning (Ky.) and self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), showing the wide range of dissatisfaction with Bernanke, the Fed and its bailouts.

The vote comes only one day after Time magazine named Bernanke the magazine's person of the year.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  December 17, 2009; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Bernie Sanders, Jim Bunning, Richard Shelby  
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