The Senate on Thursday voted to clear a hurdle to Ben Bernanke's nomination to serve a second four-year term at the head of the Federal Reserve, a strong indication the votes are in place for final approval.

The vote to overcome roadblocks was 77-23. The Senate plans to move directly to a final confirming vote, where a simple majority of 51 is needed.

Senators credited Bernanke with steering the U.S. economy through a wrenching financial crisis but also criticized him for policies they said set the stage for the turmoil and for his role in bailing out financial firms, concerns that had threatened to scuttle his nomination.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal)