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September 16, 2013

After Summers Withdraws Fed Chair Bid, Sanders Says, 'Buh-Bye'

So much for niceties! 

Hours after former treasury secretary Lawrence Summers withdrew from consideration to lead the Federal Reserve on Sunday, one of his sharpest critics, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), fired off a parting shot. 

"I applaud Larry Summers for withdrawing his name from consideration," Sanders said in a written statement sent to reporters Sunday evening. "The truth is that it was unlikely he would have been confirmed by the Senate."

Oh, snap!

"What the American people want now is a Fed chairman prepared to stand up to the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street," Sanders continued, "not a Wall Street insider whose deregulation efforts helped pave the way for a horrendous financial crisis and the worst economic downturn in the country since the Great Depression. The Fed now must help develop policies which create millions of decent-paying jobs and rebuild the middle class."

While Sanders and many liberals have criticized Summers as a handmaiden to the big banks, it was the announcement by the rural moderate Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) Friday that he would oppose Summers' potential nomination that seemed to break his candidacy. Tester was the third Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee to signal a 'no' vote, imperiling Summers' chances of making it out of committee.

Vermont's senior senator, Democrat Patrick Leahy, hasn't yet weighed in on the looming vacancy at the Fed.

Summers, a former Harvard University president who led the White House National Economic Council during Obama's first term, had been characterized in recent months as the president's top choice to replace outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. 

At a Burlington press conference last month, Sanders said he would oppose a potential Summers nomination, but he declined to comment on Obama's reputed No. 2 choice, Fed Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Sanders said at the time he didn't know enough about Yellen to render an opinion.

Sanders has, however, provided some unsolicited nominations of his own. In a letter he sent Obama in July, Sanders put forward the names of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and former secretary of labor Robert Reich.

No word on how the White House has responded to the suggestions of the Vermont independent, who has opposed confirmation of most of Obama's economic team.

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