- Current Events
- Peace & Security
- Science & Tech
- Trade & Economy
July 25, 2012 (TSR) – After a long and lonely journey, U.S. Congressman Ron Paul has indeed something to be excited about when he posted a photo on his Facebook page. After years of uphill battle, Paul’s beloved Federal Reserve Transparency Act, H.R. 459, passed with a solid bipartisan 327-98 vote.
With persistent active patience, his beloved bill won a miraculous overwhelming victory on Wednesday when U.S. House of Representatives passed his legislation for a full audit of the Federal Reserve, including an audit of the Fed’s monetary policy decisions by the Government Accountability Office.
When he first introduced the bill to a skeptical House of Representtives a decade ago, it was falling on deaf ears and his efforts were ignored at the time by his colleagues. Americans were not listening at all.
Years went by, many trillions of U.S. debt, unemployment, poverty and expensive wars later, the call to “audit the Fed” has gained support from mainstream Republicans and Democrats.
This is Paul’s biggest legislative triumph in years — perhaps the capstone in a congressional career that began in 1976. This triumph marks a high point for the Texas Republican, who is retiring at the end of the current session of Congress.
With 270 co-sponsors, the bill easily cleared the two-thirds majority needed for passage, which was required because it was considered under a suspension of the rules.
The measure also received support from his fellow Republican presidential candidates during the primaries. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, most recently voiced his approval for Paul’s efforts last week.
“Ron Paul’s ‘Audit The Fed’ bill is a reminder of his tireless efforts to promote sound money and a more transparent Federal Reserve,” Romney posted on Twitter.
On the presidential campaign trail in 2008, Paul spoke often about the need to make more of the Federal Reserve’s activities public, a cause that became a rallying cry of his supporters. Paul’s book “End the Fed” was published in September 2009, and he continued his crusade against the federal bank into his second run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. (Paul first ran for president as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988.)
Paul, has long sought to dismantle the Fed based on arguments that the Fed’s power to create money has devalued the dollar. He also says the Fed hurts Americans by making them vulnerable to Fed-induced housing and stock market bubbles, and more recently, that the Fed reacted to the recession by creating billions of dollars to bail out financial institutions.
But with little appetite in Congress to abolish the Fed, Paul is hoping that increasing the transparency of the Fed’s monetary policy decision-making process can at least give Americans more understanding of the decisions it makes.
“To audit, we should know what kind of transactions there are,” Paul said. “We should know about the deals that they made when they were fixing the price of Libor. These are the kinds of things that have gone on for years that we have no access to.”
The New York Fed said this month that it knew London banks were under-reporting their borrowing costs, which altered the reported London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and was thought to be something that boosted profits for those banks.
On Tuesday, Paul rejected charges that requiring a deeper audit of the Fed’s monetary policy decisions would open up the Fed to political pressure to make certain decisions preferred by Congress. He said the Fed has already shown itself to be politicized by bailing out some financial institutions, but not others.
Republicans countered that Congress transferred some of its power to the Fed, and needs a greater understanding of some of the unprecedented decisions the Fed made during the economic crisis in 2008.
“In recent years, the Fed’s extraordinary interventions into the economy’s fiscal markets have led some to call into question its independence,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said. “We do not ask for an audit for that reason, we ask for an audit because the American people ultimately must be able to hold the Fed accountable, and to do so, they must know at least in retrospect what the Fed has done over these many years.”
While Wednesday’s passage in the lower chamber is a victory for Paul and his supporters, the bill is considered dead on arrival in the Senate. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader and a Nevada Democrat, has vowed not to put it to a vote.
A companion measure, introduced by Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), has garnered 22 Republican co-sponsors.
Sen. Paul hailed his father as at “the vanguard of this movement,” dating back to when he first introduced a Fed audit bill in 1983. He also put pressure on Democratic leaders in the Senate to bring it up for a vote.
Ron Paul is yet to officially announce whether he is dropping out of the 2012 presidential race or not.
Source: The Hill/TSR