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Bernanke wins new term as Fed chief

Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke has won confirmation to a second term as the US central banker, despite sharp attacks on his role before the 2008 financial meltdown and in its aftermath.

world Updated: Jan 29, 2010 09:53 IST

Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke has won confirmation to a second term as the US central banker, despite sharp attacks on his role before the 2008 financial meltdown and in its aftermath.

After a bitter debate that roiled global stock markets, the US Senate on Thursday voted 70-30 to approve Bernanke after easily dispatching, by a 77-23 margin, an effort to block the nomination days before his term was to expire on Sunday.

"The Senate did the right thing. Chairman Bernanke will continue to play a vitally important role in guiding the
nation's economy," said US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Opposition to Bernanke -- who drew a historic number of "no" votes -- had led President Barack Obama to work the
phones to court wavering Senators gripped by election-year populist pressures over the battered US economy.

His supporters said the central banker, 56, had pulled the world's richest economy back from the brink of a collapse
like the Great Depression of the 1930s -- though many also noted he had not done enough to prevent the crisis.

Bernanke's "performance in addressing the economic crisis and his current efforts to significantly enhance financial
regulation to help prevent future crises, outweigh his past mistakes," said Democratic Senator Carl Levin.

But some Democrats and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders charged that Bernanke had crafted disastrous economic policies under George W Bush, missed the signs of the coming crisis, and then placed the needs of Wall Street above Main Street.