January 28, 2010

Udall Statement on Bernanke Confirmation

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., today issued the following statement regarding Chairman Ben Bernanke's reconfirmation as chairman of the Federal Reserve:

"Our current economic crisis is the result of weak regulation and poor oversight by Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. Chairman Bernanke has conceded that leading up to the meltdown their actions, and his, were, ‘too late or insufficient.'

"After initial inaction, Chairman Bernanke showed the strength of character to make the right decisions in the face of political pressure and unpopularity, but I still have concerns over his ability to reassume his position at the helm of the Fed for fear that it is once again becoming a dangerously complacent body.

"Today, American consumers are still at risk and the last thing we can afford is a regulating body asleep at the wheel. It is the obligation of the Fed Chairman to put the interests of an already anxious public above those of the banks. In addition, I believe it is the Fed's responsibility to do everything in its power to prevent further job losses.

"Despite my reservations, I believe Chairman Bernanke is the best suited candidate for the position and that he possesses the stature and credibility for the job. But his job shoring up the American economy is far from over and he must do more to protect our working families. Some economists and politicians are already calling for an increase in interest rates and I believe such a move would be a horrible blow to our economy and fears of inflation will dampen our recovery.

"By supporting his nomination today, I call on Chairman Bernanke to be true to the reassurances he has given Congress in recent weeks - that he will protect the interests of everyday Americans and work to improve economic conditions, including the lending crunch, foreclosures and unemployment.

"Now that he has been reconfirmed, we must give Chairman Bernanke the tools and the enforcement muscle to continue changing the market."