He was backed by a vote of 16 to seven, meaning the decision will now go forward to a vote by the full Senate next month.
Six of those who voted against him were Republicans and there was one Democrat, Oregon's Jeff Merkley.
After the vote was passed, committee chairman Chris Dodd, a Democratic senator from Connecticut, qualified his backing of Mr Bernanke.
"With my support comes my insistence that we carefully examine the role of an institution that runs the risk of becoming too complicated to succeed," he said.
Earlier this week, Mr Bernanke received support from an unlikely source when Time magazine named him as its Man of the Year for his reaction to the financial crisis.
By Claire Archer