Already jittery investors are growing ever more nervous about new developments in Washington. Opposition to a second term for Bernanke is growing.
On Friday, two more Democratic senators threatened to vote against him.
In a statement Friday morning, Senator Barbara Boxer, (D-CA) came out against Mr. Bernanke, who was named to his post during the Bush administration. “It is time for a change,” she said. “It is time for Main Street to have a champion at the Fed.”
Another Democratic senator, Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, also announced Friday that he would vote against Mr. Bernanke.
The shift comes rather abruptly, and has added a new element of uncertainty to a stock market that had already been reeling in recent days. The S&P 500 fell into the red for the year on Friday, joining the Dow and Nasdaq .
"The unthinkable has become a very real possibility -- risks are rising that the Senate will unseat (him)," said Michael Feroli, economist at JP Morgan.
Bernanke and the Fed have been under unusually intense criticism for failing to anticipate and prevent the financial meltdown of 2008 and for helping engineer the ensuing massive government bailout.
Lawmakers may have further reservations about supporting him after recent allegations that the Fed may have improperly pressured insurer AIG to keep some information relating to its government bailout quiet.
“I would not vote to reconfirm Ben Bernanke,” says senate candidate Peter Schiff on Fast Money.
If Mr. Bernanke is not confirmed, his term as chairman will expire on Jan. 31. However, he would remain a member of the board of governors, as he holds a separate 14-year appointment that does not expire until 2020.
CNBC has learned that Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn would take over, at least temporarily, if Bernanke fails to win confirmation when his term expires.
Here's where things stand as of Friday 1/22 5pm ET.
Yes - 18
No - 12
Undecided - 17
As you can imagine the Fast Money traders have a lot to say about these developements. Watch the video below for more.
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CNBC.com with wires