Franken, Klobuchar split votes in Bernanke confirmation


Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar generally agree on the issues, but not on the vote to confirm Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday. Klobuchar supported his confirmation while Franken was opposed, along with 30 other liberals and conservatives.

Party lines on the vote were extremely blurred (roll call here). The “nay” votes ran from the staunchly liberal Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to the extremely conservative Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

Franken said in a statement on Thursday that he voted no because he didn’t trust Bernanke to protect consumers:

“A strong Consumer Financial Protection Agency and other consumer protections are essential to securing our economy for Main Street and the middle class. I needed to know that a robust CFPA would be a part of financial regulatory reform in order to support Chairman Bernanke’s confirmation to a second term. As governor of the Federal Reserve and then Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Bernanke did almost nothing to protect consumers and when he did, it was too late. I needed the assurance that would improve. And I didn’t get that.

“While I voted for cloture because I believed this nomination deserved an up or down vote, I couldn’t in good conscience support it.”

Franken told the Minnesota Independent last week that he was undecided on the issue and that consumer protection was the key to getting his vote.