A bill introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to audit America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, passed the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly Wednesday afternoon by a 327-98 vote.
Paul’s ongoing efforts to call for increased transparency in the Federal Reserve have become a hallmark of his tenure in Congress and of his current campaign for the presidency.
Rep. Paul is still vying for the GOP nomination and intends to speak at the Republican National Convention in Florida next month. And although Paul has as recently as this week refused to endorse presumptive party nominee Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor has supported the congressman’s proposal to audit the Fed.
“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 writes on his official Twitter page.
During the Wednesday afternoon vote in Washington, D.C., Paul received backing from all House Republicans but one, as well as support from 89 congressional Democrats.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), was among those on the opposing party of Paul’s that still saw reason to support the bill. “The Fed creates trillions of dollars out of nothing and gives it to banks,” Rep. Kucinich said before Wednesday’s vote. “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.”
“It is time for us to bring the Fed into the sunshine of accountability,” the democratic congressman continued.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) was one of those opposed to the bill, saying that passing it “increases the likelihood that the Fed will make decisions based on political rather than economic considerations, and that is not a recipe for sound monetary policy.”
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve has said that, although the Fed is “quite transparent and accountable on monetary policy,” there was room for improvement. Speaking to the House Financial Service Committee last week, Bernanke said the agency still “needs to be transparent and it needs to be accountable,” even though he believes that his quarterly projections and press conferences already allow the central bank to be relatively open with Americans.
Although Wednesday’s vote was a success for the congressman’s efforts to bring added transparency to the Fed, his fight for an audit doesn’t end here. Next the bill will be brought to the Senate for a vote, where it is not expected to pass. If it does clear both sides of Congress, however, it will then be sent to the desk of President Barack Obama for him to sign into law.