Corker unsure whether Bernanke has votes for confirmation

It's unclear whether Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will have enough Senate votes to get a second term, one Republican senator said Tuesday.

Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), a GOP member of the banking committee holding hearing on Bernanke's nomination to a second term in charge of the Fed, said he wasn't sure yet whether the chairman had the votes on the Banking committee or in the Senate as a whole.

"I don't know where that sits," Corker told reporters when asked if Bernanke would have the votes to get a second term, adding he wasn't sure whether Bernanke would have the votes in the 23-member Senate Banking Committee, either.

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Corker noted that he leans toward supporting a second term for the Fed chairman, who was nominated in August to a second term by President Barack Obama, but acknowledged gripes toward the Fed chairman on the left and the right.

Bernanke is seen as likely to win enough support for a second term, though some senators have kept their powder dry on a vote.

Democrats, Corker said, had some reservations about Bernanke's role in consumer protection, while Republicans have been uneasy about his role in orchestrating bailouts for the financial sector.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Banking committee, would not say how he would vote on Bernanke's nomination, only encouraging reporters to stay tuned for the chairman's hearing this week.

"I used to be a big defender of the Fed," he said, adding he believes the institution has "utterly failed" in its role for regulating financial institutions.

Some other senators have said they would vote against Bernanke.

"I think it makes no sense to reappoint somebody who's an integral part of the problem," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said during an appearance on the liberal Bill Press Radio Show podcast earlier today. "I certainly will not be voting to reappoint Ben Bernanke."