Congressman Bob Turner was the sole Republican to vote against Congressman Ron Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill, designed to provide more accountability at the Federal Reserve.
If enacted, the bill will permit the Government Accountability Office to perform an in depth audit of the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States, consequently increasing the reserve’s transparency and accountability. The audit must be concluded within 12 months and then turned over to Congress.
The bill passed in the House of Representatives last Wednesday, July 25, with 327 representative voting in favor of it, and 98 against it. It was brought to the floor of the Senate last week with 270 co-sponsors, indicating an easy passage.
But Turner was one of the few in Congress – and the only Republican – not on board with providing more oversight of the agency. He explained his vote by saying that the Federal Reserve is audited annually by an independent accounting firm and also makes its balance sheets public, wrote WNYC.
“While I have serious concerns about the Fed’s actions during the financial crisis in 2008 and the monetary easing since then, Congress should not attempt to politicize what should be an independent institution,” Turner said in an e-mail to WNYC.
According to the Huffington Post, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said to the House Financial Services Committee that he agrees with the “basic premise” of the bill, and stated that the activities of the Federal Reserve should be exposed. However, he expressed the need for certain monetary policies to remain exempt from this requirement.
Not doing so could create a “political dampening effect on the Federal Reserve’s policy decisions,” Bernanke told the Huffington Post.
Although the bill passed through the House of Representatives with ease, it seems as though there is little hope for its passage in the Senate. Fox News said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, will refuse to even bring the bill to a vote, despite the fact that he has made attempts to pass legislation of this kind in the past.