By Silla Brush - 01/22/10 10:46 PM EST
Senate 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.) said late on Friday that he supports Ben Bernanke for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman.
The statement came after stock markets closed and amid a day of uncertainty about whether Bernanke had the necessary votes for confirmation. Reid himself had issued a vague statement on Thursday about whether he would support Bernanke.
"While I will vote for his confirmation, my support is not unconditional," Reid said in a statement. "I know Chairman Bernanke is committed to transparency and accountability, and that is why I will hold him to the highest standards of both."
"I made it clear that to merit confirmation, Chairman Bernanke must redouble his efforts to ensure families can access the credit they need to buy or keep their home, send their children to college or start a small business," Reid said. "He has assured me he will soon outline plans for making that happen, and I eagerly await them."
Sixteen lawmakers in the Banking Committee backed Bernanke's nomination and seven who voted no. Assuming those lawmakers do not change their positions, there are now 25 senators who back Bernanke and 13 who oppose him, according to a survey conducted on Friday by The Hill. Many offices declined to comment or indicated their boss was undecided.
Legislators who oppose Bernanke that do not sit on the Banking Committee include Sens. Jim InhofeJames InhofeGOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election A dozen senators call for crackdown on Chinese steel Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (R-Okla.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsMcCain: Accepting election results is 'American way' GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Some in GOP say Trump has gone too far MORE (R-Ala.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDefense chief pledges to 'resolve' bonus clawback issue California National Guard official: Congress knew about bonus repayments California House Republicans facing tougher headwinds MORE (D-Calif.).
Lawmakers not on the Banking panel who back Bernanke include Sens. Reid, Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderObama meets a crossroads for his healthcare law Music streamer Spotify joins Gillibrand’s push for paid family leave GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (R-Tenn.), Richard BurrRichard BurrWarren slams GOP Sen. Burr as 'puppy on a leash' for backing Trump Republicans make M investment in Senate races Overnight Healthcare: Trump calls ObamaCare stats 'a lie' | Clinton vows to 'tackle' hikes MORE (R-N.C.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsRepublican opposition to raising the minimum wage Is crumbling 5 takeaways from the Indiana Senate debate GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (R-Maine), Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuTrump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race Louisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator La. Senate contender books seven-figure ad buy MORE (D-La.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Tom CarperTom CarperYahoo hack spurs push for legislation Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis MORE (D-Del.) and Max BaucusMax BaucusChina moves to lift ban on US beef Overnight Healthcare: Zika fight stalls government funding talks | Census finds big drop in uninsured | Mental health bill faces wait Glover Park Group now lobbying for Lyft MORE (D-Mont.).
A few lawmakers, including Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownSanders warns Clinton: Don't rush to compromise with GOP Dem senator praises US steel after car crash Lobbying World MORE (D-Ohio), may vote differently on Bernanke's nomination when it hits the floor. Brown voted for Bernanke in committee.
Wall Street is very anxious about Bernanke's nomination. In a memo issued Friday afternoon titled, "Is it time to hit the panic button?", Mike Feroli of J.P. Morgan Research wrote, "A 'no' vote on Bernanke would rightly be read as a politicization of monetary policy, which has been without fail associated with poor economic outcomes: uncertaintly would ramp up, inflation risk premium would increase, the cost of capital would rise accordingly, and the real economy and labor markets would suffer. In short, it would be an economic policy mistake of colossal proportions."
Matthew Coleman and Anthony C. Lange contributed this article, which was updated at 6:25 p.m.