In a move that serves as a capstone to Rep. Ron Paul’s colorful career, the House on Wednesday approved a bill that would let Congress’s chief investigators conduct a full audit of the Federal Reserve’s shrouded decision-making process.
The overwhelming 327-98 vote sends the bill to the Senate where Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has previously expressed support for an audit — though it’s unclear he’ll carve out time for the legislation this year.
But House passage already marks a high-water mark for those who for years have been pushing for an audit, led by Mr. Paul. The Texas Republican rode the issue to prominence in two different presidential campaigns, and said the bill is a chance for Congress to begin to reclaim the money and banking powers it is given in the Constitution, but had delegated to the Fed.
“It is up to us to reassert ourselves,” Mr. Paul said during floor debate Tuesday.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke doesn’t like the prospect of such a broad audit, calling it a “nightmare scenario” last week and saying it will lead to politicians second-guessing his decisions.
Opposition in Congress came chiefly from Democrats who said they doubt the bill ever becomes law — but worried about sending a signal to financial markets that lawmakers want to intervene in financial affairs.
“It seems to me what we’re talking about is taking some fake punches at the Federal Reserve but not doing anything serious,” said Rep. Barney Frank, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.
The bill would grant the Government Accountability Office, which is Congress’s chief investigative arm, the power to retroactively review the Fed’s decision-making — particularly on monetary policy.
Yeah let’s wait till next year….we have plenty of time. After all, we don’t want to expose all the corruption before an election do we?