By Stephen C. Webster
One of Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) lifelong policy goals is on the brink of becoming a reality.
In a nearly unanimous voice vote on Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee approved a bill that would require the U.S. Federal Reserve to conduct a first-ever complete audit of its books and divulge details about its monetary policy discussions. The bill is expected to be taken up by the full House of Representatives sometime next month.
Paul, a longtime critic of the Fed and fiat currencies in general, had previously supported an audit that became part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. That audit required the Fed to disclose its lending practices during the 2008 financial crisis, revealing that the bank doled out more than $16 trillion in loans and assets swaps to financial institutions all over the world in an effort to stabilize global markets and keep credit flowing.
Paul, however, felt that the audit which ultimate cleared the U.S. Senate was a stripped down version of what he believes is needed, and most of his colleagues now agree. His bill has garnered an impressive bipartisan coalition of more than 257 co-sponsors — more than half the House — giving it enough votes to pass.
The Senate version, introduced by Paul’s son Rand (R-KY), faces a tougher road. All of its 20 co-sponsors are Republican, and it has been stuck in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, which is chaired by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD). He has not said whether the bill will be marked-up for debate.