Conservatives and progressives worked together to support Senator Sanders in his quest to have the Federal Reserve audited.
Kudos to Senator Sanders. We took a big step forward in reclaiming our nation today.
~~~ “The Senate approved an amendment to the regulatory-overhaul bill authorizing a one-time audit of the Federal Reserve’s emergency-lending programs, and defeated a second proposal that would have allowed continuous inquiries.
Lawmakers voted 96-0 today for Senator Bernard Sanders’s proposal to let a congressional watchdog conduct an audit of every Fed emergency action since December 2007. The Senate rejected a measure from Louisiana Republican David Vitter that would have permitted unlimited reviews.
The Sanders amendment is closer to what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told legislators he would support. The Fed chief, during a February hearing, invited an audit of emergency loan programs, while raising concerns that broader audit authority could result in reviews of monetary policy.
“The Sanders amendment gives perfect political cover to senators who are eager to punish the Fed for its secrecy and forays into fiscal policy, but are not eager to take any blame for intervening in the Fed’s setting of interest rates,” said Sarah Binder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Sanders last week narrowed his amendment in response to concerns raised by Bernanke, the Treasury Department and senators that his call for broader audit could threaten the central bank’s independence. The change drew support from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who wrote the main financial-regulation bill.
“There was a tremendous amount of lobbying power placed on senators” to avoid audits of monetary policy, said Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute and a former Senate Banking Committee staff member. “Dodd wasn’t in favor of it, the White House wasn’t in favor of it, and Treasury was absolutely opposed to it.”
Federal Reserve spokesman David Skidmore had no comment.
“The time is now that we have got to end secrecy at the Fed,” Sanders, a Vermont independent, said before the vote. “This money does not belong to the Fed. It belongs to the American people, and the American people have a right to know where their taxpayer money is going.”
The amendment is aimed at forcing the Fed to release information about its use of emergency powers to help rescue financial firms during the crisis. Bernanke used Depression-era authority to loan billions to U.S. corporations and bond dealers, and to rescue Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc….” ~~~