Ron Paul may no longer be in Congress, but other conservative members are stepping up to carry issues he pushed in the past. On Facebook yesterday, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) announced that he reintroduced legislation to audit the Federal Reserve:
Today I reintroduced H.R. 24, the “Audit the Fed” legislation originally authored and championed by former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX). My plan is to pick up right where Congressman Paul left off. Our economy is far from recovering, and the recent fears regarding the potential impacts of the ‘fiscal cliff’ and its aftermath prove that the American people must continue to demand transparency from the entity charged with ensuring stable economic and monetary policy.
You can read the official statement from Rep. Broun’s office here.
The legislation will open up certain information to the Government Accountability Office excluded from audits in subsection (b) of 31 USC 714, including agreements and transactions with foreign central banks and discussions between the Treasury Department.
The House overwhelmingly passed the Audit the Fed bill last year. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to bring it to the floor for a vote, despite his past support of more transparency of the Federal Reserve.
Over the last six years, I’ve been watching Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) very closely. Back in 2008, Chambliss faced a tough challenge in a three-way, finding himself in a runoff against Jim Martin, a liberal Democrat.
Part of the problem was campaign organization. Insider Advantage quoted an unidentified Republican who said that Chambliss and company had the organization of a “bad state House race,” calling it a “embarrassing campaign.” There was also the perception of Chambliss among Georgia Republicans. Insider Advantage again quoted a unidentified Republican who said, “Saxby’s reputation is that he’s spent six years in Washington playing golf. He’s gone on lots of trips. He hasn’t done the down-and-dirty constituent work.”
“Saxby bragged about it his first four years – how much golf he was getting in. It was a real problem and it irked a lot of people,” said the unnamed Republican source. Many Republicans in the state were less than thrilled with Chambliss, who hadn’t been able to endear himself to the state party the way Sen. Johnny Isakson had.
Another issue that hurt Chambliss was that he had lost the support of many fiscal conservatives in Georgia because of his votes that put taxpayers at risk.
We’ve recently noted that House Republicans have largely been a disappointment when it comes to cutting spending. Since taking control of the chamber in January 2011, the national debt has increased by over $1.59 trillion and reasonable amendments to bills that would cut spending have been shot down with many Republicans opting not to keep the promise they made to voters in the fall campaign. There is also talk of bringing back earmarks, an untransparent process that is often corrupt.
So why are the spending cutters in the House? The Club for Growth has tracked the 25 votes on amendments that would cut spending and found the consistent budget hawks in the lower chamber (I’m only posting those that score 100%, for sake of space):
As you can imagine, there has been a lot of discussion about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. And while the budget would, if passed, repeal ObamaCare, it doesn’t replace it. This, along with other aspects of the proposal, has been a sticking point for many conservatives.
On Tuesday, Rep. Ryan said that he didn’t include a replacement for ObamaCare, for which costs have doubled, in his budget because there is no consensus amongst House Republicans as to what their model for health care reform should be.
Given all of the problems with ObamaCare, many of which were laid out in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), proposing such a comprehensive budget proposal without at least some foundation of replacement proposals is odd. It’s even more odd when the budget was unveiled during the second anniversary of the health care reform law and the week before it’s due to come before the Supreme Court.
However, Rep. Paul Broun, MD (R-GA) has introduced the OPTION Act (H.R. 4224), a patient-centered health care reform replacement. According to Broun’s office, the OPTION Act would repeal and replace ObamaCare with a reform package that would protect the interests of patients:
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) is taking some heat from House Republican leadership because of some of his recent votes. Why? It’s not because his behavior is out of the ordinary — it’s because his votes are pushing other Republican House members from Georgia to slant more to the right.
As of now, Broun is the only declared candiate in the Repubican primary for Georgia’s open Senate seat in 2014. However, his colleages, Reps. Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston, are expected to jump in the race any day now.
Broun, who applies a “4-way test” before he votes on legislation, announced his opposition to the budget in an op-ed at The New York Times earlier this week.
“The latest budget proposal by Representative Paul D. Ryan, called ‘The Path to Prosperity,’ is anything but,” wrote Broun. “It fails to seriously address runaway government spending, the most pressing problem facing our nation.”
He added, “I cannot vote for something that would trick the American people into thinking that Congress is fixing Washington’s spending problem, when in actuality we’d just be allowing it to continue without end.”
While the House budget repeal’s ObamaCare, Broun notes that it leaves the taxes passed as part of the law in place, which is another sticking point for him. Broun instead only voted for the Republican Study Committee’s budget, which was presented as an amendment on Wednesday by Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA).
The Republican primary for Georgia open Senate seat is sure to be an interesting one to watch. It doesn’t seem like anyone currently announced or expected to announce have really done a lot to drive support. This provides a more Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who has set a mid-May deadline for a decision, has apparently spoken with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) about the race, according to Politico:
Republican Rep. Tom Price met Monday with senior officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to two sources.
The Georgia congressman continues to mull a run for the seat opened up by Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ retirement.
Price, a former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, raised more than $300,000 in the two weeks after Chambliss retired and had $1.6 million cash on hand at the end of the year.
There are no details as to what exactly was discussed, but Price would be a formidable candidate if he decided to throw his hat in the ring. But Politico does note something that has been mentioned from people I’ve spoken to in Georgia politics. Price, who was elected to Congress in 2004, currently serves as Vice Chairman of the House Budget Committee, behind Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), and would presumably be next in line to lead the powerful committee.
As Republicans in the Peach State vie for position in the 2014 Senate race, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), who is perhaps the most liberty-minded member of the delegation, released a statement this morning explaining that he will not run for the seat being left open by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
“The last several weeks have been a very exciting time for me and my family as we considered the opportunity to serve Georgia in the United States Senate. It has been an honor to receive so much support from Georgians and grassroots conservatives around the country, and I am confident that we would run a very competitive campaign,” explained Graves in a statement sent by his office. “My decision rested on what would be best for my family, my district and the state of Georgia, and I have concluded that the right path for now is to forgo this Senate race and continue serving in my current role.”
“After receiving so much encouragement to enter the race, I now know we are at the beginning of a long journey in Georgia state politics,” Graves said. “I look forward to taking on a greater leadership role in our congressional delegation as many of our senior members enter the primary, and it is important for my supporters to know that I intend to continue preparing for future opportunities to serve Georgia.”
Now that Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014, Georgia is becoming a battleground for fight between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. Over at Georgia Tipsheet, James Richardson recently noted that Tea Party Patriots is considering involvement in the primary, which has led some Republicans to worry that the race “will descend into a conservative pissing match.”
To this point, however, only one candidate, Rep. Paul Broun, has announced. It’s is expected that Rep. Jack Kingston, a life-long appropriator and serial earmarker, will soon announce his campaign. And Rep. Tom Price, a generally solid fiscal conservative, is talking like a candidate and trying to contrast himself as a better communicator for conservative ideals.
Even though Republicans won’t head to the polls in the primary for than a year, there are new numbers out of the Peach State that show a close race. According to the survey conducted by Harper Polling, the race is a dead-heat among a handful of House members from Georgia:
During his time in Congress, Ron Paul (R-TX) brought the idea of auditing the Federal Reserve into the mainstream. Not only was the Audit the Fed bill passed by the House last year, some of the candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination adopted the idea from Dr. Paul.
Though Paul may have retired, the legislation requiring an audit of the Federal Reserve has been reintroduced in both chambers for the current Congress — by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) in the House and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in the Senate.
While some may question the need to audit the Federal Reserve, a new video from FreedomWorks featuring Julie Borowski explains the rational behind the legislation and notes that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who once introduced similar legislation, is the biggest obstacle to a vote in the upper chamber:
Undeterred by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s refusal to bring legislation up for a vote that would shine some light on the activities of the nation’s central bank, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) reintroduced the Audit the Fed bill today:
Following his father’s crusade, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has refiled legislation that would require an expansive audit of the Federal Reserve.
The proposed audit of the bank that oversees the nation’s monetary system has been a longtime crusade of Ron Paul and became a banner issue during his unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign. He argued that the Fed was responsible for manipulating currency and damaging the economy. Ron Paul was able to persuade Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich to also support an audit.
“Harry Reid was the single reason Audit the Fed was not brought to the floor of the Senate in 2012,” John Tate, president of the Campaign for Liberty, said in a statement. “Harry Reid knows full well that Audit the Fed- which he previously claimed to be a strong supporter of- would pass both the House and the Senate if he allowed a vote. It seems the Senate Majority Leader doesn’t want the American people to know what he, President Obama, and the Federal Reserve have been doing to our money and our economy.”