It’s not quite ending the U.S. central bank, as Ron Paul is fond of saying he would like to do, but the Texas GOP congressman did get a bill passed through the House on Wednesday to audit the Federal Reserve. The measure passed with bipartisan support, 327 to 98.
To understand how remarkable this moment is — coming near the end of Paul’s congressional career — consider this: When Paul first introduced his bill a decade ago, it was written off as another piece of his far-flung libertarian worldview. For a long time, Paul was a lawmaker who was largely ignored by Washington — that guy on the losing end of 414-1 votes.
And now his Fed transparency bill has 270 co-sponsors — including the great majority of the Republican lawmakers and a good number of Democrats. It’s a sign that this issue has moved into the mainstream, even if Ron Paul himself has not.
...“I’m pleased. It’s something I’ve worked on for a long time, and it’s a good first step,” Paul told POLITICO. “It’s coming to the floor as a response to the American people, because I don’t have a whole lot of clout around here.”
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich was among the Democrats who supported the bill.
“The Fed creates trillions of dollars out of nothing and gives it to banks. Congress is in the dark. The Fed sets the stage for the subprime meltdown. Congress is in the dark. The Fed takes a dive on Libor. Congress is in the dark. The Fed doesn’t tell regulators what is going on. Congress is in the dark,” Kucinich said before the vote, adding that “it is time for us to bring the Fed into the sunshine of accountability.”
It’s unlikely, however, that the bill will pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. Nevertheless, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ron’s son, is keeping it all in the family and is sponsoring the Senate’s version.
“I think people came around to him. I also think over time, people have become more worried about Fed policies,” he said. “Many conservatives who won’t go quite as far as my father would like to take them, have begun to question them. We think it’s not that controversial that the people through their representatives deserve to know what the Federal Reserve is doing, and I think if it came up for a vote in the Senate tomorrow, it would pass.”
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Ron Paul, right, and Rand Paul are working to audit the Federal Reserve.