Merkley Statement on Confirmation of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman

– Today, the United States Senate voted to confirm Ben Bernanke to a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, the first Democrat to publicly oppose Bernanke’s nomination, voted against confirmation.  Merkley issued the following statement after the vote:

“I opposed Ben Bernanke’s confirmation today because I do not believe he is the right person to rebuild our economy, skilled as he may have been in responding to the financial meltdown.   When our economic house caught on fire, he did a good job responding to the disaster and helping to put out the blaze.  But in the years leading up to the catastrophe, he either ignored the warning signs of economic peril or advanced policies that directly contributed to the future inferno.

“Now that he has been re-confirmed to his post at the Federal Reserve, I hope that he will take a new tack and bring renewed focus to our national efforts to help American families recover from this recession.  For far too long, the economic success of our nation has been measured by the ups and downs of Wall Street, even as the wages of the average worker stagnated and families fell deeper in debt.  This path was not sustainable, and in the end, even Wall Street suffered from the reckless risk-taking in the name of short-term profits.

“Today, it’s boom times again on Wall Street but many families have not been so fortunate.  They have lost jobs, homes and retirement savings.  As we go forward, Chairman Bernanke will be a key participant in setting our economic strategy, a strategy that I hope will focus on action that will create jobs and strengthen the financial foundation for our families.  I look forward to working with Chairman Bernanke toward that goal.”