Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie will be the new standard bearer for “Audit the Fed,” a bill that was initially sponsored by former Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul and has passed the House a number of times but stalled in the Senate under the leadership of outgoing Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Reid indicated support in the past for an audit of the Federal Reserve.
Most recently, outgoing Georgia Congressman Paul Broun sponsored a version of the bill, which passed the House overwhelmingly (333-92) in September of this year. After its most recent passage, Congressman Broun said:
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. This lack of accountability and transparency has led to grievous consequences - and it must end.
United Liberty called for support of a renewed effort in the new Republican-controlled Senate earlier this month.
In the House, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) is taking the torch from outgoing Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), whose “Audit the Fed” bill sailed through the House this year with bipartisan support. Across the Capitol, another Kentucky Republican — Sen. Rand Paul — is vowing to introduce the bill again, with renewed hope that the GOP takeover of the Senate will boost its chances of getting a floor vote in the next Congress.
Both Massie and Paul want to get the ball rolling right away. Massie plans to release the bill early in the new Congress, while Paul said in a brief interview this week that his will likely be dropped in January.
Proponents of “Audit the Fed” believe the proposal is ripe for a potential breakout moment next Congress — with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ascendance to majority leader in January, the bill has a better chance of being approved by both chambers of Congress for the first time.
“I think our odds keep improving,” said Massie, who has a personal relationship with Paul. “His profile will be raised as he runs for president, which bodes well for this bill, and his relationship with Sen. McConnell I think bodes well for this bill in the Senate.”
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said in an email Wednesday that while they have not announced a schedule for next year, the senator “supports the bill, he’s a co-sponsor.”
United Liberty also noted the importance of Senators Paul and McConnell’s relationship heading into the new Congress and ahead of a potential 2016 bid by Paul. Incoming Majority Leader McConnell’s support of “Audit the Fed” brings the legislaiton closer to a floor vote by the full Senate.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. As the saying goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Conservatives must pressure Senator McConnell and the new Republican majority to bring the bill to a vote.
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