Since its establishment in 1913, a growing number of Americans have become suspicious of the Federal Reserve. The private central bank, which has been given control over the nation’s supply of currency, is seen as a shadowy banking cartel that “prints” money and issues it to Wall Street’s wealthiest elites, leaving consumers, senior citizens on fixed incomes, and middle class families to pay for its schemes through inflation and a subsequent loss in buying power. Former Congressman and libertarian icon Ron Paul made auditing and ending the Federal Reserve a centerpiece of his influential career. No other US politician has done more to expose the complicated issue of monetary policy to the general public.
Paul’s quest to take down the Fed reached a climax in 2012, when he led a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives (327 votes in favor and 98 against) to pass the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2012, which would have required a full audit of the Federal Reserve if it had passed the Senate. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to bring the bill before the Senate for a vote, causing it to die on the vine. Paul’s push led senators to include a partial audit of the Fed in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which already exposed the fact that the embattled central bank issued conflict of interest waivers to its employees and contractors so that they could invest in companies that were receiving portions of the $16 trillion in bailouts issued by the Fed.
Yesterday, according to Reuters, a revived version of Paul’s bill, re-introduced by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), passed the House by a vote of 333 to 92, a stronger majority than the first time it passed. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013 (H.R. 25), as it is called, now faces a steep hurdle in the Senate, where Harry Reid will likely attempt to prevent senators from voting on it. The Senate version, S. 209, was introduced by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and has 30 cosponsors.
If the bill were to become law, it would require that the Federal Reserve Board and the 12 Federal Reserve Banks submit to a full audit by the Government Accountability Office within 12 months. A report to Congress would be due within 90 days of the audit’s completion. It would also repeal limitations that prevent Congress from overseeing Fed decisions related to monetary policy and require the GAO to examine the Fed’s response to the foreclosure crisis back in 2009 and 2010.
In the above-embedded video, Rep. Paul Broun argues in favor of the bill to audit the Fed, saying, “Over the century since its inception in 1913, the Federal Reserve has controlled our nation’s monetary policy and, therefore, our economy under a veil of secrecy. Throughout these last 100 years, Congress has only exercised a relatively small degree of oversight of the Federal Reserve. This lack of accountability has led to grievous consequences, and this must end.”
106 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. John Campbell, voted against the bill. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) took to the floor to argue against the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. Critics of the audit the Fed movement allege that such oversight and transparency could lead to a politicization of monetary policy.
The Campaign for Liberty, an organization started by Ron Paul, is calling for citizens to contact their senators in a push to pressure Harry Reid, who claimed to support an audit of the Fed earlier in his political career, to bring S. 209 before the Senate for a vote.