Bernanke Says Fed ‘Should Have Done More’
Under fire from Democrats and Republicans alike, Ben S. Bernanke on Thursday defended his record as chairman of the Federal Reserve but conceded that the central bank’s lapses contributed to the financial crisis.
As he faced the Senate banking committee on Thursday morning, Mr. Bernanke still seemed to have enough support to win approval for a second term.
But he and the Fed as an institution came under withering criticism for failing to recognize the crisis until it was too late and then bailing out financial giants like Citigroup and the American International Group.
The hearing provided new evidence of doubt among lawmakers about the Federal Reserve’s role as the nation’s guardian of the financial system.
On Tuesday, Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont declared that he would try to block Mr. Bernanke’s approval on the Senate floor by placing a hold on his nomination. Senate leaders would need 60 votes, rather than a simple majority, to override the hold.
And Senator Jim Bunning, a Kentucky Republican who was the only person to vote against Mr. Bernanke’s original appointment as chairman in 2006, vowed on Wednesday to “do everything I can to stop your nomination and drag this out as long as I can.”
Instead of even asking questions, Mr. Bunning used all of his allotted time in the first round of questioning for a tirade in which he concluded that “your time as Fed chairman has been a failure.”