It’s time for some accountability: House of Representatives passes Audit the Fed bill

The House of Representatives passed, by an overwhelming margin, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 24), a measure that would require a meaningful audit of the United States’ central bank.

There was some question whether House Republican leaders would bring the measure to the floor for a vote, but, thanks to grassroots efforts to encourage members to cosponsor the bill, its popularity couldn’t be ignored. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act, which had gained more than 218 cosponsors, passed the lower chamber in a 333 to 92 vote.

“For the past 100 years, the Federal Reserve, a quasi-government agency, has acted under a veil of secrecy – controlling our monetary policy and thus, our economy. While in recent years, the Fed has been granted a greater role in overseeing the regulation of our financial system, current law specifically prohibits audits of the Federal Reserve’s deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy,” said Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), who introduced the measure in January 2013. “This lack of accountability and transparency has led to grievous consequences — and it must end.”

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.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who did not seek reelection in 2012, made Federal Reserve oversight and transparency a pet cause during his congressional career and presidential campaigns. The Audit the Fed cause was carried Broun after Paul left Congress.

“I applaud my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, for their support of this vital bill,” said Broun, “and I commend my good friend and former colleague Dr. Ron Paul for his leadership on this important issue.”

The House also passed the Audit the Fed bill in July 2012, only to meet resistance in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) killed the measure despite previously advocating for accountability and transparency at the Federal Reserve.

“I strongly encourage Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to recall his past support for this legislation – which he stated as recently as 2010 – and to bring this bill before the Senate for a vote, so we may deliver the transparency and government accountability the American people need and deserve,” Broun added.

Ron Paul, founder and chairman of Campaign for Liberty, praised the passage of the Federal Reserve Transparency Act and also called on Reid to act. “I am pleased to see the House of Representatives once again pass this historic legislation,” said Paul. “I urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to listen to the American people and hold a vote on ‘Audit the Fed’ right away.”

There isn’t much time, however, for the Senate to take up the measure. The upper chamber is expected to adjourn soon so members, especially vulnerable Democrats, can return home to campaign for the fall.

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