U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have re-introduced legislation in the 115th Congress that calls for a complete audit of the Federal Reserve. Similar legislation has stalled in previous Congresses, but this time it may have a new ally: Donald Trump.
President-elect Donald Trump has lambasted the central bank since the beginning of his presidential campaign, a positive sign for Paul and Massie. Paul said in a statement Wednesday:
“The U.S. House has responded to the American people by passing Audit the Fed multiple times, and President-elect Trump has stated his support for an audit. Let’s send him the bill this Congress.”
The bill could put the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy deliberations under the review of the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Federal Reserve is already subject to partial reviews and audits by the GAO and the Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Audit the Fed has had little issue getting through the U.S. House in previous sessions, but it has stalled in the Senate due to opposition from Senate Democrats. However, along with having support from most Republicans, the legislation also has some bipartisan support — most notably from U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Things could change under the 115th Congress since there is no longer the assumption that the president will veto the legislation. Lawmakers assumed President Obama would veto an Audit the Fed bill. But the president-elect could change everything. During the campaign, Trump accused the Fed of keeping interest rates low to serve Obama’s political goals and explicitly said it should be audited.
Now, proponents of the bill believe they have a real shot in 2017.
“It is time to force the Federal Reserve to operate by the same standards of transparency and accountability to the taxpayers that we should demand of all government agencies,” said Rep. Massie.