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From the Washington Times:
Fed audit legislation likely to get full vote in Congress this year
By Stephen Dinan, published Dec. 31, 2014
After years of being blocked by Democratic leader Harry Reid, the Senate will finally get a chance next year to vote on legislation to force a broad audit of the Federal Reserve’s decision-making.
Once championed in Congress by former Rep. Ron Paul, the push to force the country’s central bank to undergo a full audit has been picked up by his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and others, and has the backing of the leader of the new Republican majority, Sen. Mitch McConnell, also a Kentucky Republican, whose office says the legislation will earn a floor vote.
But despite overwhelming support in the House, where the legislation has twice passed, the bill is not a sure thing in the Senate, and the Fed itself is pushing back.
Fed Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said this month the Fed remains opposed to stricter oversight of its monetary policy decisions, and Reuters reported she and other Fed officials are lobbying Capitol Hill to drop the audit push.
“Back in 1978 Congress explicitly passed legislation to ensure that there would be no GAO audits of monetary policy decision-making, namely policy audits. I certainly hope that will continue, and I will try to forcefully make the case for why that’s important,” Yellen told reporters at a press conference two weeks ago.
For supporters in Congress, the fight is a matter of constitutional prerogatives and good governance. They argue that President Obama’s 2009 Recovery Act, which totaled $800 billion in spending and tax cuts, was dwarfed by the trillions of dollars of stimulus the Federal Reserve oversaw.
They’ve had luck in the House, where legislation calling for an audit has passed twice, including most recently in September on a 333-92 vote. All but one Republican, and more than half of the Democrats in the chamber, voted for the legislation.
But Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, refused to give the bill floor time in the Senate, bottling it up in both 2012 and 2014.
Norm Singleton, vice president of policy at Campaign for Liberty, Ron Paul’s political organization, said that was striking because, in 2010, Mr. Reid had seemed to throw his support behind doing an audit.
Mr. Reid’s side suffered huge losses in November’s elections, with the Republicans [gaining] nine seats — enough for a 54-46 majority, delivering control over the floor schedule to Mr. McConnell and undercutting Mr. Reid’s power.
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