Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may be keeping quiet about his future plans, but he sure doesn’t sound like someone planning to seek Senate support for a third term at the helm of the U.S. central bank.
In unapologetic and sometimes testy exchanges before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, the Fed chief defended his record and dismissed one Senate critic in unusually blunt terms.
“None of the things you said are accurate,” Bernanke told Bob Corker, a Republican senator from Tennessee, who accused the Fed of deliberately starting a global currency war and of printing money to bail out big Wall Street banks.
Bernanke’s term expires in January 2014, and he is widely expected to step down at that point and return to private life. However, he has never said so publicly.
If President Barack Obama decided to nominate him to a third four-year term at the helm of the Fed – and Bernanke agreed to serve – he would require Senate confirmation. If that were the case, he might be expected to go out of his way to disguise irritation with Senate questions designed to get under his skin, hewing to the traditionally circumspect demeanor of a Fed chairman delivering congressional testimony.