Federal Reserve Transparency Billby Senator Harry Reid
Posted on 2016-01-11
REID. Mr. President, for years I have supported a responsible
audit of the Federal Reserve System. The American people deserve an
audit of one of the most vital parts of our government. In the wake of
the financial crisis that crippled our Nation's economy, I came to more
fully understand how important it is that any audit respects the
independence of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is crucial to
our economy recovering after the disastrous debacle on Wall Street.
[[Page S7]] There were emergency provisions to address the catastrophes that only the Federal Reserve could respond to. They did it faster than the Congress could do it. Had the Federal Reserve not stepped in, the consequences of the great recession would have been tremendously worse. It would have been worse than the Great Depression. This Federal Reserve could act quickly to safeguard the national economy because of its independence, and it did just that.
One of the lessons we learned from the great recession is that the Federal Reserve should not be hamstrung. It is a cornerstone of our global economy. We must maintain a Federal Reserve that is transparent, but we must also respect the independence of the Federal Reserve in order to maintain the well-being of the global economy, and that is why we included an amendment to responsibly audit the Federal Reserve while respecting its independence. The amendment passed unanimously. The bill which the Senate will vote on tomorrow, sponsored by the junior Senator from Kentucky, will critically undermine this delicate balance.
Wall Street reform ensured that the Government Accountability Office could audit the Federal Reserve, and in accordance with the law, the Government Accountability Office has carried out those audits. In the year after the passage of Dodd-Frank, the Federal Reserve was audited 29 times. Since that time, the Federal Reserve has been audited 102 times.
My colleagues don't have to take my word for it. The 102 audits of the Federal Reserve are available to everyone. All they have to do is look at the Federal Reserve Website. Proponents of this bill know that. Their calls for audits have been answered.
So let's be clear. This bill is not about auditing the Federal Reserve. It is not about transparency or keeping the books for the Fed. The oversight already exists. This bill is about giving tea party Republicans and their billionaire donors the ability to control the economy of the United States. It is an attack on policies that are designed to stabilize the U.S. economy and help the middle class bounce back.
Political parties should not and cannot run monetary policy at the Federal Reserve. That would be disastrous. I am disappointed the Senate will waste its time on another misguided partisan attack such as this one. The bill is an attack on the Federal Reserve mandate to create full employment. These attacks are partisan in nature, and it is unconscionable to think that the Republican leader will begin this year attacking policies that benefit the middle class.
Some Republicans agree. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, said this of the audit the Fed bill: It's obvious to me that the Audit the Fed effort is to not address auditing the Fed because the Fed is audited. . . . to me it's an attempt to allow Congress to be able to put pressure on Fed members relative to monetary policy. And I would just advocate that that would not be a particularly good idea and it would cause us to put off tough decisions for the future, like we currently are doing with budgetary matters.
I agree with Senator Corker. Injecting politics into the Federal Reserve is a bad idea.
This bill is a sham. We should dispense with it quickly, and we should do it--if there is any word quicker than quick, let's do it that way. I will vote against the bill, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
Will the Chair announce the business of the day? ____________________