Audit the Fed bill nearing majority support in the House

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 24) is just a handful of cosponsors away from a majority of the House of Representatives, though the measure remains stalled in the committee with jurisdiction.

The Audit the Fed cause was picked up by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) after Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) retired. The Georgia Republican introduced the measure on the first day of the 113th Congress with just five cosponsors. By the end of January 2013, another 97 members had added their names to the bill.

Since that time, however, the total number of cosponsors has more than doubled. The Audit the Fed bill now has 204 cosponsors* (186 Republicans and 18 Democrats), just 14 away from a majority of the chamber.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would require the central bank to open certain information to the Government Accountability Office currently excluded from audits in subsection (b) of 31 USC 714. This would include the Federal Reserve’s agreements and transactions with foreign central banks and discussions between the Treasury Department.

Hurdles obviously remain. The measure has not yet been reported out of the House Financial Services Committee, though its chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), expressed support for the measure in the past. He isn’t a cosponsor.

The House passed the Audit the Fed measure in July 2012 by an overwhelming margin. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to bring the legislation up for a vote, despite expressing support for the measure as recently as 2010.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Audit the Fed bill, S. 209, in the upper chamber. The measure has 29 cosponsors.

Much like her predecessor, Ben Benanke, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen opposes Audit the Fed. She told members of the House Financial Services Committee in February that the measure could “bring political pressures to bear” on how the central bank makes monetary policy decisions.

H/T: @CarolynDPS
*Congress.gov currently shows 208 cosponsors, but this number includes members who have left the House, either by death or resignation


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