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Senator: Bernanke to face vigorous hearing

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said on Tuesday he did not foresee any roadblocks in the way of White House economist Ben Bernanke’s nomination to be chairman of the Federal Reserve.
/ Source: Reuters

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said on Tuesday he did not foresee any roadblocks in the way of White House economist Ben Bernanke’s nomination to be chairman of the Federal Reserve.

“I don’t see any but you never know,” the Alabama Republican said in answer to a reporter’s question.

Shelby, whose panel is charged with considering the nomination, said he expected Bernanke would face “a vigorous examination on both sides of the aisle.”

He said both Republicans and Democrats likely will use Bernanke’s confirmation hearing to probe Bush administration and Fed policies. No date has been set for a hearing, but Shelby said on Monday it was possible one could be held before the Nov. 24 Thanksgiving holiday.

The 51-year-old Bernanke, who has headed the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers since June, was nominated by President George W. Bush on Monday as his pick for a successor to Alan Greenspan, who has headed the Fed for more than 18 years.

Bernanke must be approved by the Senate for the job, but so far most reaction on Capitol Hill appears favorable and implies that the former Princeton University professor will win handy approval after an early grilling from lawmakers.

Greenspan is set to step down next Jan. 31.