Bernanke traveled to the Hill Monday to meet with Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenators warn of 'dangerous' cuts to International Affairs Budget Lawmakers push one-week stopgap funding bill Rob Thomas: Anti-Trump celebs have become 'white noise' 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 ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.), Durbin, John KerryJohn KerryEgypt’s death squads and America's deafening silence With help from US, transformative change in Iran is within reach Ellison comments on Obama criticized as 'a stupid thing to say' 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 McConnellHundreds of former EPA employees blast Trump on climate change Democrats must have a better response on net neutrality than simply 'no' The Hill's 12:30 Report 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.