Last week I was very pleased that the Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, HR 1207. The bill has 295 cosponsors and there is also strong support for the companion bill in the Senate. This hearing was a major step forward in getting the bill passed.
I was pleased that the hearing was well-attended, especially considering that it was held on a Friday at nine o’clock in the morning! I have been talking about the immense, unchecked power of the Federal Reserve for many years, while the attention of Congress was always on other things. It was gratifying to see my colleagues asking probing questions and demonstrating genuine concern about this important issue as well.
The witness testifying in favor of HR 1207 made some very strong points, which was no surprise considering the bill is simply common sense. It was also no surprise that the witness testifying against the bill had no good arguments as to why a full audit should not be conducted promptly. He attempted to make the case that the Fed is already sufficiently accountable to Congress and that the current auditing policy is adequate. The fact is that the Fed comes to Congress and talks about only what it wants to talk about, and the GAO audits only what the current laws allow to be audited. The really important things however, are off limits. There are no convincing arguments that it is in the best interests of the American people for anything the Fed does to be off limits.
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