As the vote on Ben Bernanke's reconfirmation nears, two congressmen and two senators offered their insights on the Fed chief's performance on CNBC Monday.
Merkley: He Amplified Risk
“He has amplified risk in the system and all that came crashing down last year. And I don’t think the person you want to rebuild your house is the person who helped set it on fire.”
-Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
Gregg: He Pushed the Envelope
“We were on the verge of a cataclysmic event in late 2008. And it didn’t look good for us as a country. We were headed to what probably was going to be a massive financial meltdown in all our institutions… You’re talking about something that could have been on a depression type of level. And it didn’t happen. Why didn’t it happen? It didn’t happen because the chairman of the Fed along with the Treasury secretaries, both Paulson and Geithner stepped in and did some really original things. And sure they pushed the envelope, but if they hadn’t pushed the envelope, the disaster which would have occurred would have been cataclysmic.”
-Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H.
Paul: Bernanke Is Wounded
“I don’t think Bernanke should be reappointed. But even if he is, he’s wounded; the attention is on the Fed; the economy is going down and the correction has not occurred.”
-Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas
Kanjorski: He's Extremely Able
“I sure do hope they reappoint Bernanke. I had the occasion to work with him through the rescue period. And I found that he was incredible. That’s not to say that everything he’s done through his tenure at the Federal Reserve both as chairman or as governor is what we would have liked but we never get 100 percent performance from anyone. I just think that he’s extremely able. That he’s got an ability to take crises and manage it well at critical times.”
-Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Penn.