SUDEEP REDDY
The Wall Street Journal
December 15, 2009

[efoods]Ben Bernanke is widely expected to win Senate approval for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman, but opponents are hoping to use the debate on his nomination to curtail his autonomy at the central bank.

The Senate Banking Committee is poised to clear Mr. Bernanke’s nomination on Thursday, sending it to the full Senate for a vote. Several lawmakers plan to use the proceedings to gain momentum for a bill that aims to subject the Fed’s monetary-policy making to congressional audits.

The measure, crafted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), mirrors one written by Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas) that was included in the House’s overhaul of financial-industry regulations passed last week.

Republican Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and David Vitter of Louisiana have vowed to block Mr. Bernanke’s confirmation until the full Senate considers the audit legislation, which has been co-sponsored by about a third of the Senate.

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