By J. Taylor Rushing - 01/26/10 02:22 AM EST
Bernanke traveled to the Hill Monday to meet with Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Wikileaks: Durbin pushed unknown Warren for Obama bank regulator The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Ill.), who afterwards said he had some concerns but repeated his support.
“During the darkest days of this economic recession, when this country was teetering on the brink of a depression, this man and his leadership at the Federal Reserve made a difference,” Durbin said.
He said Bernanke had made critical decisions “which saved
our country from the abyss."
Durbin said he reviewed with Bernanke a list of concerns that Democratic senators have raised about his tenure. Specifically, Durbin said he and Bernanke discussed the Fed's forecasting ability, and that Bernanke was “frank and candid that mistakes were made” in failing to foresee the 2009 economic collapse. The two also discussed transparency and accountability, with Bernanke pledging more of both, as well as the need for more consumer protection and job growth.
At the White House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration remains confident in a safe margin of support. Gibbs said a vote for Bernanke would send a message of economic stability.
“This is an important opportunity to demonstrate greater stability in our overall system by approving his renomination for another term at the Fed,” he said.
To shore up the nomination, several prominent Democrats such
as Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidNevada's Heck won't say who he's backing for president GOP groups ride to rescue in 3 key Senate races Obama seeks down-ballot gains after being midterm loser MORE (D-Nev.), Durbin, John KerryJohn KerryThe evidence backs Trump: We have a duty to doubt election results Effective sanctions relief on Iran for sanctions’ sake What would a Hillary Clinton presidency look like? MORE (D-Mass.) and
Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) issued statements of support
for Bernanke in recent days. The nomination received a measure of support on
Sunday from Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRepublicans make M investment in Senate races Pelosi urges end to Pentagon's clawback of soldier overpayments Coffman’s stance on climate change disingenuous, irresponsible MORE (R-Ky.), who said he expected
Bernanke would be confirmed with a bipartisan vote.
After a plunge on Friday, Wall Street also steadied itself Monday, with the Dow nudging upwards 24 points. It had lost more than 500 points in the last three business days last week.
Durbin announced over the weekend that he planned to support Bernanke, but arranged Monday's meeting to raise concerns over a lack of transparency and accountability. In a statement issued earlier Monday, he threatened to push banking reform legislation - a longtime priority of Durbin's - if the Fed does not.
A survey by The Hill shows 35 senators on record as supporting Bernanke, with 17 opposed.