This Fed Chief Brought to You by Enron
Just wanted to throw two tidbits into the debate on Ben Bernanke’s reconfirmation. First, this quote, which needs no explanation.
In the event that Bernanke isn’t confirmed, several sources say, Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman Donald Kohn likely would be elevated to acting chair of the U.S. central bank. Bernanke would be entitled to stay on the board until his term as a Fed governor expires in 2020, but the sources said Bernanke could instead return to a professorship at Princeton University.
Possible successors to Bernanke include three people currently advising Obama on the economy, former Fed chief Paul Volcker, Larry Summers and Christina Romer.
Kohn was traveling in Europe at the end of the week on Fed business, but strategy on the Bernanke confirmation was being led by former Enron lobbyist Linda Robertson, who is viewed as an effective advocate for the banking chief on Capitol Hill. [my emphasis]
And then there’s this:
The effort to secure Mr. Bernanke’s confirmation, which had intensified after two Democratic senators announced their opposition on Friday, continued through Saturday and included calls to senators by both Mr. Obama and Mr. Bernanke. By late afternoon, senators began issuing statements of support
White House and Congressional Democratic leaders say they now believe that they have the 60 votes needed to block a filibuster of Mr. Bernanke’s reappointment. They expect some Democrats will oppose him on the confirmation vote, but that requires only 50 votes.
This implies that Harry Reid is demanding party discipline on the procedural cloture vote on Bernanke, but allowing Senators to vote no on the confirmation itself. That’s the way it often works on such issues, of course. Unless it’s health care.
Nice to see that when the party wants to protect the guy who refuses to work for full employment, they can enforce party discipline, but not when the party could offer better health care options to voters.