[ Ed. note – I certainly would not describe myself as a Republican. I think both parties, Republican and Democrat, are rotten to the core and have sold out the people of this country, but it is rather curious that the overwhelming majority of supporters of Rand Paul’s bill requiring an audit of the Federal Reserve (see a full list of co-sponsors here ) are Republicans, while the overwhelming majority of those who voted against it were Democrats. Paul introduced the bill last year. It came up for a preliminary vote in the Senate today. The legislation failed to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster. The vote tally was 53 ayes-44 nays. Bernie Sanders voted with the Republicans. Ted Cruz did not show up to vote at all. The “hope and change” Obama administration and the Federal Reserve itself were on the same side–both opposed the legislation. ]
Democrats Kill Rand Paul’s Audit the Fed Bill, Though Sanders Votes Yes
US News & World Report
Senate Democrats blocked a vote Tuesday on legislation from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would have required an audit and greater transparency on monetary policy-making from the Federal Reserve, the powerful central banking system that sets interest rates and manages the money supply.
The bill won near-unanimous Republican support and votes from Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, butfell short of the 60 votes needed for consideration.
Measures to audit the Fed have met mixed success since the 2008 economic crisis. The House passed similar measures in 2012 and 2015 and the Government Accountability Office gained some oversight powers and performed an audit pursuant to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act.
Sen. Paul’s measure would have authorized the GAO to review more information as part of an audit, but opponents said that would give lawmakers too much information and power to exercise oversight.
“We’ll see many members of Congress pushing the Fed to side with the bondholders and Wall Street on combating inflation rather than siding with main street and small businesses and workers in dealing with unemployment,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who spoke against the bill.
Sen. Paul used similar arguments, however, saying his proposal would in fact benefit the working class to the disadvantage of well-connected bankers, as low inflation and low interest rates have hurt people who aren’t at the top of the economic food chain.
“There is a revolving door between the Fed, the Treasury and Wall Street — a revolving door in a building all-too-eager to enrich big banks and asset holders at the expense of everyone else,” he said. “I think that it’s about time we pull back the curtain to uncover this cloak of secrecy once and for all.”
In advance of the vote, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote in a Brookings Institution blog post that “[t]he principal effect of the bill would be to make meeting-by-meeting monetary policy decisions subject to Congressional review” and that too much transparency would allow for “political interventions in monetary policy decisions [that] would not lead to better results.”
Bernanke famously was unable to identify during a 2009 congressional hearing the foreign banks that received $500 billion during the economic crisis. “Congress approved it in the Federal Reserve Act [of 1913],” he explained, describing why congressional approval was unnecessary for the loans.
Though the Senate blocked the measure, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul (Rand’s father) tells U.S. News the vote “was a tremendous success” because it builds momentum. “We really never expected to overcome cloture,” he says.