Efforts to increase transparency and accountability in the Federal Reserve continue to pick up steam on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, an Audit the Fed bill overwhelmingly passed the House, 333-92. Over a hundred (106 to be precise) Democrats joined all but one Republican to approve the legislation.The bill, sponsored by Rep.
Paul Broun (R-Ga.), is a version of a previous bill former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) pushed in 2012 that also passed the House, 327-98.
"This is a vital piece of legislation that will help to usher in a new era of transparency in this nation's monetary policy," Broun said in an interview for The Hill. "The Federal Reserve is a creation of Congress, and it must therefore be subject to the oversight and regulation of Congress."
With so much bipartisan support behind the bill, one would assume it would have no issue passing the Senate, especially since Paul's son, Kentucky Junior Senator Rand Paul, introduced companion legislation in the upper chamber with 30 co-sponsors from both major parties.
However, since it was introduced in February 2013, Rand Paul's bill has not even been assigned to a committee for consideration. Broun's bill will likely suffer the same fate. Why is this? Because in the Senate there is one gatekeeper and he has already vowed not to put such legislation up for a vote: Majority Leader Harry Reid.
It is not entirely certain when exactly Harry Reid did a 180 on the issue. He has a documented history of supporting audit the Fed legislation, even up to his 2010 re-election, but when Ron Paul's bill passed in 2012, Reid said he would not put it up for a vote. Since Reid has the power to make these decisions, he remains the one and only obstacle preventing an audit the Fed bill from passing Congress.
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