Rand Paul's Audit the Fed Bill Gets a Vote, But May End Up Helping a Primary Opponent
After introducing legislation to audit the Federal Reserve System, one lawmaker looks to be finally getting a vote this week.
Over the weekend, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul announced on Facebook that when the Senate returns this week, there will be a vote on his legislation, commonly called Audit the Fed. The vote will likely come on Tuesday. The Kentucky senator said:
"It is finally time that the Federal Reserve's shroud of secrecy is revealed and we find out what they have been up to. No more bailouts to Wall Street and political insiders. No more trillion dollar bailouts to foreign banks. The time has finally come to audit the Federal Reserve and expose their secrets."
Paul introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015 last January. At the time, Paul said, "The time to act is now":
"The Fed currently operates under a cloak of secrecy and it has gone on for too long. The American people have a right to know what the Federal Reserve is doing with our nation's money supply."
An audit the Fed bill passed the House of Representatives in November 2015. President Barack Obama threatened to veto the bill, saying:
"The Federal Reserve is an independent entity designed to be free from political pressures, and its independence is key to its credibility and its ability to act in the long-term interest of the Nation's economic health."
A previous audit of the Federal Reserve revealed that in addition to bailouts of private corporations in the US, it also loaned out billions to foreign central banks.
The vote on the audit the Fed legislation was announced in December, but it could have implications for the presidential campaign.
The cause of auditing the Federal Reserve was long championed by Paul's father, former congressman Ron Paul. Unlike his father, however, Rand has not made monetary policy transparency a distinguishable hallmark of his presidential campaign.
At an October presidential candidate debate, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called for an audit of the Federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard. Though Paul did speak about monetary policy at that debate, Cruz seized the initiative. In November, the Texas senator officially became a cosponsor of the bill.
Paul's presidential campaign, which has been treading water for months, could receive a boost if he is the only presidential candidate who passes legislation while running for president.
The latest NBC/Marist poll for Iowa shows Paul in fifth place and well behind the frontrunners at 5 percent.
However, the passage of the Audit the Fed bill could also help Cruz who is in second place in most national polls. The Texas senator could potentially gain more politically from an anti-establishment electorate by being attached to a legislative effort aimed at exposing the Washington power structure.