NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--U.S. Senate Banking Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Wednesday said Ben Bernanke has the requisite experience, education and fortitude to succeed as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV, Shelby said he expects Bernanke to bring his own style to central bank while also keeping U.S. monetary policy on a steady course.
"He will have to be tried in the marketplace, he will have to perform," Shelby said. "But he's got the experience, the education and, I think, the willpower to do a good job as Fed chairman."
Shelby declined to predict how Bernanke would deal with inflationary concerns in the Fed's top job, saying only that his decisions will be influenced by data and the current state of the economy.
Some in financial markets have speculated on how Bernanke may differ from his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, in containing inflation. That's because Bernanke has said he supports establishing an explicit inflation target range, something Greenspan has opposed.
Bernanke, sworn in as Fed chairman last week, will give a monetary policy report to Congress Feb. 15-16
Speaking about efforts to overhaul Fannie Mae's (FNM) and Freddie Mac's (FRE) oversight operations, Shelby called reform of the government-sponsored enterprises is "my No. 1 priority."
He said there are "deep problems" at the two GSEs.
Shelby supports drafting legislation that would limit the two companies' massive investment portfolios.
-By Steven C. Johnson, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2018; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires