Bernanke Vote: Cloture Votes and Cheap Ploys

Joshua Rosner is Managing Director at independent research consultancy Graham Fisher & Co and advises regulators and institutional investors on housing and mortgage finance issues. Previously he was the Managing Director of financial services research for Medley Global Advisors. In early 2003 Mr. Rosner was among the first analysts to identify operational and accounting problems at the Government Sponsored Enterprises, in the third quarter of 2005 Mr. Rosner identified the peak in the housing market, In October of 2006 Mr. Rosner highlighted the likely contagion from structured securities and credit markets into the real economy.


Sources have suggested that Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) intends to vote “yes” on Chairman Bernanke’s cloture vote and “no” on the floor. The cloture vote requires 60 “yes” votes to approve and really is THE vote to confirm. The floor vote only requires a simple majority to pass and therefore is a less important vote requiring fewer “yes” votes. The blogs and the press should warn those Senators, in advance, that they will out Senators and dog them to the mid-term elections if they try this cheap ploy to look like they are taking a stand. Vote “yes” or “no” – period.

Senators should be told: “If you think Chairman Bernanke has done a good job and fulfilled his mandate (price stability and full employment) then, by all means, vote yes. If you are so focused on your polls that you can’t vote your conscience – either way – you deserve to be sent packing”.

I would add one thing:

The most important story of the week is not being written. Why? A whistle blower suggested to Rep. Issa (R-CA) and, either the same or a different source suggested to Senator Bunning (R-KY), that Chairman Bernanke’s staff at the FRB recommended he allow AIG to file for bankruptcy and recommended AGAINST a bailout of AIG. It is claimed he overrode that recommendation and supposedly the staff recommendation was changed prior to being disclosed to the full Board of the FRB.

In today’s House Oversight Committee meeting both Secretary Geithner and Secretary Paulson repeatedly stated “we had to bail out AIG, we had no choice”. If, in fact, Federal Reserve Board Staff recommended against the bailout. Was it so clear they really “had to”?

Ranking Member Issa does not have subpoena power and has requested that Oversight Chairman Towns (D-NY) subpoena certain relevant documents (“sb-aig-01000092”, “sb-aig-01000125”, “Draft Memo on AIG”).

There has been no real pressure exerted by the press to get this information into the hands of Senators and the public BEFORE the cloture vote. Chairman Bernanke’s cloture VOTE SHOULD NOT BE HELD UNTIL our elected representatives have full information either exonerating Bernanke of these allegations or supporting the allegations. Moreover, we have a right to know “if we had to bail out AIG”

Anyone that want’s to try and suggest mine is a partisan position merely has to look at my willingness to, in the interest of functioning and transparent markets, take on Republicans and Democrats alike.


Joshua Rosner
Managing Director
Graham Fisher & Co., Inc.
O – (646) 652-6207

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