Friday, June 18, 2004

Bunning opposes Fed boss's 5th term

But Greenspan approval likely

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky was the lone committee vote against President Bush's nomination of Alan Greenspan for a fifth term as Federal Reserve chairman on Thursday.

The Senate Banking Committee approved Greenspan's nomination on a voice vote. Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said he plans to move the nomination through the full Senate "as expeditiously as possible," with a vote possible today.

Bunning said he opposed the nomination because he believes Greenspan did not move quickly enough to lower interest rates in 1992 and 2000, and he also objected to Greenspan voicing opinions on subjects such as tax and budget issues that Bunning said were outside of the Fed's jurisdiction.

The Republican senator predicted during Greenspan's confirmation hearing on Tuesday that he would be the only vote against the nomination in the full Senate.

Bunning has long been a Greenspan critic. Example from February 2001: "I studied economics about the same time as Alan Greenspan, and professors at Xavier were better than his" at New York University."

Greenspan, 78, has guided the Fed since 1987, when he was tapped by President Reagan to succeed another legendary chairman, Paul Volcker. He was renominated to the Fed post once by Bush's father and twice by President Clinton.

Friends say Greenspan has told them that he plans to serve less than half of the new four-year term, choosing to retire on Jan. 31, 2006, when his separate 14-year term as a Fed board member is due to end.

The Cincinnati Enquirer contributed.

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