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Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Re-Appointment Becoming Controversial

December 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is up for re-confirmation to the Fed and what once was seen as inevitable is starting to become less so because members of both parties have issues with the Fed chief.  Sen. Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, recently placed a hold on his nomination.

Mr. Sanders, an independent, is not a member of the Senate banking committee, but he has frequently accused the Federal Reserve of bailing out Wall Street firms and the banking industry at the expense of ordinary citizens.

“In this country, there is profound disgust at what happened on Wall Street,” Mr. Sanders said in an interview. “People want a new direction and people are asking, where was the Fed? How did the Fed allow this to happen, when one of their mandates is to oversee the safety and soundness of the banking system?”

Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI) (not to be confused with the actual White House) has also expressed dismay but is willing to give Bernanke another chance so long that:

“[t]hat they’re willing to take their eyes off an exclusive gaze on the welfare of Wall Street and start giving a red hot damn about the American public.”

Some Republicans are also against Bernanke like Sen. Bunning who added a second hold, but that may be just a knee jerk reaction because Bernanke is Obama’s pick for re-appointment to Fed Chairman even if Bush nominated him first.

Still, Bernanke has allies of his own from both parties including Republican Sen. Gregg and Democratic Sen. Dodd.  What is really troubling is Bernanke’s recent comments on Social Security and Medicare.  Quoting a bank robber, the Fed Chief said:

Ben Bernanke has overseen the greatest expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet in its history, pouring trillions of dollars into Wall Street firms at roughly zero interest rates.

His generosity, however, has a limit.

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee today, where he’s seeking re-appointment as the Fed’s chairman, Bernanke called for cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security even as unemployment rises and the middle class is endangered.

Citing legendary bank robber Willie Sutton, Bernanke said of the retirement and health care funds that are the legacy of the New Deal: “That’s where the money is.”

Social Security and Medicare, a social safety net for millions of average Americans, should not be raided to keep the rich afloat.  That’s certainly not the change we need unless the change Bernanke is talking about is to de-evolve back to 19th Century Gilded Age.  Bernanke has some explaining to do.

Wrap Up of the Week of Nov. 16th.

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment
  • Senate Democrats easily broke the Republican filibuster of Judge David Hamilton on Wednesday and confirmed him 59-39 just this morning to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  More judges held up by the Republicans should get through now that the extreme Republicans showed themselves to be ineffectual in stopping Obama’s judges.  Congratulations to now Circuit Court Judge Hamilton!
  • The Senate passed the Military/Veterans Appropriations bill this past Tuesday on a vote of 100-0.  That’s probably the widest margin this past year.  See Republicans, bipartisanship wasn’t so hard now was it? Guess what’s coming next …
  • Sen. Reid has scheduled a special Saturday session of the Senate to debate the motion to proceed to health care reform.  In other words, they’re going to debate whether to bring health care reform to the Senate floor.  The cloture vote is scheduled to be at 8 PM tomorrow night after a day long debate.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (1932-2009)

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

The Work Goes On, The Cause Endures, The Hope Still Lives, and The Dream Shall Never Die

Rest in Peace to the Lion of the Senate, Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Senate Confirms Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Congratulations to Justice Sonia Sotomayor on her confirmation to the Supreme Court.  68 Senators voted to confirm while 31 Senators, all Republicans, voted against.  She becomes the first Hispanic and third woman to become a Supreme Court Justice.

This part of the Upcoming Agenda is complete.  Congratulations!

Categories: Nominations Tags: ,

Judiciary Committee Approves Sotomayor

The Judiciary Committee approved Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court on a vote of 13-6.  All the Democrats and one Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), voted for Sotomayor with the rest of the Republicans voting against.  I wonder if the full Senate will vote for her this week?  Once the full Senate votes, Judge Sotomayor will become the newest Supreme Court Justice!

Republicans Delay Judiciary Committee Sotomayor Vote to Next Week

In a move reeking of pettiness, Judiciary Committee Republicans led by KKK sympathizer Sen. Jeff Sessions delayed the Judiciary Committee’s approval of Judge Sotomayor to July 28th.

The move was expected after senior committee Republican Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, earlier said he would seek the week — as allowed under committee rules — to continue to review her record.

Sen. Jeff Sessions’ KKK sympathies were revealed during Sessions’ failed judicial nomination to a US District Court judgeship in Alabama.  During Sessions’ Judiciary Committee hearings, colleagues testified that they heard then nominee Jeff Sessions saying the  “KKK was okay until I found out they were pot smokers.”

It got worse. Another damaging witness–a black former assistant U.S. Attorney in Alabama named Thomas Figures–testified that, during a 1981 murder investigation involving the Ku Klux Klan, Sessions was heard by several colleagues commenting that he “used to think they [the Klan] were OK” until he found out some of them were “pot smokers.” Sessions claimed the comment was clearly said in jest. Figures didn’t see it that way. Sessions, he said, had called him “boy” and, after overhearing him chastise a secretary, warned him to “be careful what you say to white folks.”

Harold Koh Soon to be Confirmed by the Senate

The Senate today invoked cloture on the nomination of Harold Koh, a Yale Law School Professor and President Obama’s pick to be the Legal Counsel to the State Department.  Mr. Koh was also one of the contenders for the Supreme Court, a spot that eventually went to Judge Sonia Sotomayor.  The President really had an embarassment of riches when it came to his Supeme Court choices.

I really have no idea why the Republicans even tried  filibustering Harold Koh in the first place.  No matter, the Party of No failed, and Harold Koh will soon be headed to the State Department.

Yesterday, the Senate swiftly passed HR 1777, a bill that will make technical corrections to the Higher Education Act according to the bill description.

Categories: Nominations